A tsunami of COVID-19 cases continues to hit Alberta during the pandemic’s fourth wave as the provincial government announced Friday that it had identified 1,651 new cases of the disease over the past 24 hours.
As of Friday afternoon, Alberta Health said the province had 20,040 active coronavirus cases, with the Edmonton zone (5,461) and Calgary zone (5,105) having more active cases than any other zone in the province.
Alberta’s COVID-19 positivity rate was at 10.3 per cent on Thursday, according to the most recent data provided by the government.
The province also broke its own record on Friday for number of people in ICUs in Alberta hospitals because of COVID-19. That number has risen from 226 on Thursday to 243 on Friday. In total, there are 1,061 Albertans in hospital with the illness.
Alberta Health said Friday it had identified 11 more deaths caused by COVID-19, raising the province’s pandemic death toll to 2,622 fatalities since March 2020.
Of the latest Albertans with COVID-19 to die, Alberta Health said all but one had pre-existing conditions. Five of the 11 most recent fatalities were recorded in the Central zone, two in the Calgary zone, two in the North zone and two in the South zone.
Alberta government says no need for military help yet
As Alberta continues to work to expand the health-care system’s capacity as COVID-19 continues to push it to its breaking point, the provincial government said Friday that although the federal government has agreed to provide military assistance in response to the crisis, the situation has not reached that point yet.
“Currently, there is no immediate requirement for the Canadian Armed Forces to support us,” Greg Smith, the press secretary for Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver, told Global News in an email. “Staging the Canadian Armed Forces and nursing staff into Alberta has not been formally requested.
“If this situation changes, as much advance notice as possible will be given, because the dispatch of those personnel will require time to co-ordinate and complete.”
Smith added that the province is already working with the federal government, however, “to do what is necessary to support our health system and prevent it from being overwhelmed.”
Hinshaw warns against falsifying COVID-19 vaccine information
Friday marked the fifth day since the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system was implemented. In order to provide proof of vaccination, Albertans are asked to download and print off their vaccination information from a government website. However, security concerns were raised earlier this week when a number of Albertans noticed it was possible to alter the information before printing it out.
On Friday afternoon, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw offered a warning on social media to anyone planning to alter their documents to say they are vaccinated if they have not been.
“We are hearing reports of people trying to falsify proof of… vaccination records,” she tweeted. “We are at a critical time and need Albertans to do all they can to help reduce strain on the health system. We need people to abide by current restrictions and not look for ways around the rules.
“To be clear: falsifying records is against the best interest of Albertans’ health and is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, and may also be an offence under the Health Information Act. Rather than risk potential consequences, get vaccinated. It’s your best protection.”
Watch below: Some recent videos about the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.