The number of Albertans becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is increasing, mostly among unvaccinated people, as hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions reached their highest levels since late June.
There were 176 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including 44 in the ICU as of Tuesday, provincial data shows. These figures are the highest since June 26 when there were 176 in the hospital and on June 25 with 46 COVID patients in ICU. The province also reported 407 new cases of the disease on Tuesday and three more people have died.
Most people who become seriously ill have not been fully vaccinated against the virus. More than 81 percent of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated and more than five percent are partially vaccinated.
Unvaccinated people also account for nearly three-quarters of Alberta’s 5,627 active cases.
The increase in hospitalizations comes at a time when the province continues to lead the country in both the number and rate of active cases. Alberta’s active cases have increased ninefold in one month to 5,627. Currently, active cases are also nearly five times higher than a year ago on this date, and have recently grown steadily from two weeks after the province lifted nearly all COVID-19 health restrictions in the Canada’s day.
Both hospitalizations and deaths are considered lagging indicators for measuring the spread of the pandemic, meaning that it takes several weeks after cases increase before the impact can be seen. Nineteen deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the last month, and the death rate has slowed since the end of June. In all, 2,336 have died from the disease in Alberta.
More than 81 percent of all active cases in Alberta are worrisome variants, and most of them are the Delta variant. Cases of the highly contagious Delta variant have risen sharply since early July, when it overtook the Alpha strain as the most dominant strain in the province.
According to data from Alberta, the vaccines are highly effective against variants, with two doses. Two doses are 85 percent effective against the Delta strain and 91 percent effective against the Alpha variant. One dose is only 57% and 76% effective for Delta and Alpha strains, respectively.
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