Government of Alberta officials are expected to provide an in-person COVID-19 update on Thursday, but the province still released the COVID-19 data for the past week as scheduled Wednesday afternoon.
There were 990 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, with 44 of those people receiving care in the ICU.
The province confirmed an additional 30 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 4,104 since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Since last Wednesday’s report, the province has confirmed an additional 5,549 cases from 21,314 tests. The data breaks down as follows:
- March 29: 881 cases, 3,450 tests completed
- March 30: 869 cases, 3,447 tests completed
- March 31: 909 cases, 3,505 tests completed
- April 1: 863 cases, 3,605 tests completed
- April 2: 670 cases, 2,805 tests completed
- April 3: 525 cases, 1,937 tests completed
- April 4: 832 cases, 2,565 tests completed
Because of limitations on who is eligible to receive a PCR test in the province, health officials have warned the total number of Albertans with COVID-19 is likely far higher than what is being reported.
On Tuesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization told provinces to prepare to roll out fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Over the coming weeks, the country should prepare for the “rapid deployment” of a second booster program with the focus on those 80 and over and residents of long-term care and other congregate living settings, NACI said.
Like with the first booster, NACI recommended the second booster be administered six months after a person’s last vaccine dose.
Last week, U.S. regulators approved a fourth dose for those over 50 if it’s been at least four months since their last vaccination.
As of April 4, 90.2 per cent of Albertans 12 and older had received at least one dose, while 86.7 per cent of the same population had received two doses. Of those eligible, 36.7 per cent have received a booster dose.
Doctors comment on Alberta’s current COVID-19 situation
For one Edmonton doctor, the past couple of weeks have marked a stark difference in her hospital.
“Definitely, it’s busy,” said Dr. Neeja Bakshi.
“We are seeing an uptick in the past 10 to 14 days in admissions. We had reached kind of a plateau over the last month in terms of numbers.”
Bakshi works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, where her team is preparing to open another COVID-19 unit.
“Our non-COVID hospitalization numbers haven’t gone down since the beginning of November,” she said. “We are starting this wave much different than any other. We are already over-capacity.”
Bakshi said she expects the next two weeks will indicate how hospitals will be impacted.
Dr. Stephanie Smith, a Calgary physician, said she is also concerned about starting off a sixth wave with a higher level of hospitalizations.
“We’ve come down very slowly, and now plateaued and came back up. But that’s happening more slowly. We aren’t seeing a huge increase in hospitalizations at this point,” Smith said. “We know there’s a fair amount of COVID transmission in the community.
“I don’t think there will be that sharp (of a hospital) increase, which is important and helpful, because our hospitals are starting at such a high level.”
–With files from Morgan Black, Global News