COVID-19: Hinshaw urges caution as Alberta comes ‘down the other side of the 4th wave’

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Top doctor reminds Albertans to be vigilant heading into winter'
Coronavirus: Top doctor reminds Albertans to be vigilant heading into winter
Dr. Deena Hinshaw is reminding Albertans to be vigilant of COVID-19 as the province’s case numbers drop from the peak of the fourth wave and heading into flu season. – Nov 16, 2021

While COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations have dropped since the height of the pandemic’s fourth wave in Alberta, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is urging the province’s residents to continue following public health guidelines.

“While over the past few weeks we have begun to come down the other side of the fourth wave, we have seen before how fast things can change,” she said Tuesday.

(Click here for Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers)

The chief medical officer of health urged residents to “stay vigilant,” especially as we head into the winter months.

When things get colder, more and more events begin taking place inside, increasing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. It’s also now flu season in Alberta and Hinshaw warned to expect an increase in respiratory symptoms and other illnesses, including seasonal influenza.

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“There is a risk we could see a fifth wave but, as always, we have the tools to be able to minimize the impact that that has,” Hinshaw said.

Measures like wearing masks, staying home when sick, practising good hand hygiene and limiting the number of in-person interactions will reduce the likelihood of both COVID-19 and flu transmission, Hinshaw said.

Click to play video: 'Hinshaw explains why kids 5-11 won’t require COVID-19 vaccine passport if vaccine is approved for them'
Hinshaw explains why kids 5-11 won’t require COVID-19 vaccine passport if vaccine is approved for them

Hinshaw also recommended that those who haven’t been vaccinated yet for the flu do so as soon as possible.

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“The flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce your chances of getting sick with influenza and spreading it to others,” she said.

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“While the flu is not as severe as COVID-19, it can be very serious for the very young and the elderly. And it can put additional pressure on our health-care system.”

After a record year last year, the uptake for the flu shot is slower this year – about 20 per cent of Albertans have been immunized so far. More than 916,000 doses of flu vaccine have been administered so far.

“The good news is there is still plenty of time to add ‘getting the flu shot’ to our to-do lists,” Hinshaw said. “So far, there have been three cases of lab-confirmed influenza in Alberta this year.”

For those who haven’t received a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine yet, Hinshaw stressed it is safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose and a flu vaccine dose at the same time.

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An additional 17 COVID-19-related deaths were also reported to the province over the weekend. There have now been 3,188 Albertans with the virus who have died.

Tuesday COVID-19 numbers

On Tuesday, the province confirmed an additional 321 new cases of COVID-19 from 6,425 tests. That puts the positivity rate at 5.1 per cent.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were a total of 5,565 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

Another 13 COVID-19 deaths were announced on Tuesday.

“My deepest sympathies are with the friends and families of these individuals as they mourn the loss of a loved one and to anyone grieving a loss, no matter the cause,” Hinshaw said.

“Each death is a painful reminder about the seriousness of this virus and the need to keep protecting each other and our health-care system from it.”

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Click to play video: 'Alberta records 13 deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday'
Alberta records 13 deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday

As of Tuesday’s update, there are 518 people receiving care for COVID-19 in hospital, including 101 people in the ICU.

There are active alerts or outbreaks at 201 Alberta schools, 10 of which had 10 or more infectious cases attend school in the last two weeks.


As of Nov. 15, Alberta has administered 6,730,767 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.


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