The number of patients with COVID-19 being treated in intensive-care units at Alberta hospitals has dropped to its lowest level since October 2020, Health Minister Jason Copping announced Wednesday.
As of June 27, 13 people with COVID-19 were being treated in ICUs. The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital at all has also declined. As of June 27, there were 589 people in Alberta hospitals with the coronavirus, down from 661 a week earlier.
However, Copping noted that hospitals in the province continue to face challenges amid the ongoing pandemic.
“Our hospitals and other services remain under strain — especially in Edmonton and Calgary — for the same reasons as in other provinces: a wave of patients in recent months, plus the impact of the past two years on the health workforce,” he said in a news release.
“The result is that EMS and emergency departments are struggling to keep up even though spending is at record levels and staff are being added across the system, including 800 more staff in emergency departments than before the pandemic.”
Copping said he believes some of those challenges will subside “as the Omicron BA.2 wave recedes.”
“And we’re continuing to add capacity,” he added.
“Alberta Health Services has now opened 26 of the 50 new ICU beds funded in Budget 2022 and nine new ambulances will be on the streets in Edmonton and Calgary by the end of this month.”
Latest COVID-19 numbers in Alberta
According to the Alberta Health website, as of June 27, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Alberta had reached 4,621 since the pandemic began.
Seventeen COVID-19 deaths were reported in the past seven days, according to the provincial government.
As of June 27, 588,691 cases of COVID-19 had been identified in Alberta since the pandemic began, with 943 of those being confirmed over the previous seven days. Because access to PCR testing is limited in Alberta, health officials have said the total number of active cases, and cases overall, is likely far higher than what is being reported.
Copping said Wednesday that levels of COVID-19 being detected in wastewater “are trending down across the province, including in Edmonton and Calgary, and are at or near the levels before Omicron in many centres.”
“It’s been a tough spring for our health system in Alberta and across Canada. We know the pandemic is not over,” he said. “We have to expect cases to increase again, most likely in the fall, and we’re preparing for that.
“We’ll continue to closely monitor the emergence of new variants and keep Albertans informed of the risks from the pandemic and how we’re responding to them.”
As of June 27, 8,889,140 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Alberta.