EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout the pandemic, case counts have been based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted by provincial agencies such as Alberta Health Services, but those testing protocols have changed to prioritize high-priority groups and people in higher-risk settings. There is no system in Alberta to catalog rapid home antigen tests, which means that many people with COVID-19 are not reflected in the data.

As a result, CBC News will deemphasize case counts in our coverage, in favor of data and metrics that experts say are now more insightful, including hospitalizations and sewage monitoring.


The last:

  • Health Minister Jason Copping and Alberta Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave an update on COVID-19 on May 17.
  • Full COVID-19 figures for the period May 10-16 were released on Wednesday.
  • At the end of the day May 16, 1,165 people were in the hospital with COVID-19, below 1,225 people last week.
  • 42 people were in intensive care, above 37 last week.
  • 61 new deaths from COVID-19 they were reported between May 10 and 16. A total of 4,452 Albertans have died from the disease.
  • There was 3,614 new cases of COVID-19 reported outside 18,349 tests. The case count includes only those who test positive on a PCR test, which most Albertans cannot access.
  • The average positivity rate was 19.93 percent, compared to 22.98 percent the week before.
  • At a news conference on May 17, Hinshaw said deaths are often one of the last indicators to drop. “That is why this high number of deaths that we have seen in recent weeks and this week is not unexpected, although it is a tragic reminder of the serious impacts of this virus,” she said.
  • Hinshaw said the province is in talks about expanding eligibility for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but all three doses are still effective against severe outcomes for most people.
  • Copping said that for the third week in a row, COVID-19 positivity test rates have declined, one more sign that the BA.2 peak has passed. He added that pressure on the health care system remains high, particularly EMS.
  • As of May 4, the province now allows community providers, such as family doctors, to prescribe Paxlovid to those eligible for COVID-19 treatment. A positive rapid test to confirm COVID-19 infection will now be accepted in order to prescribe Paxlovid.
  • The Paxlovid eligibility list now includes all Albertans age 60 and over, and Aboriginal people age 50 and over, with 2 or fewer doses of the vaccine and at least one pre-existing condition. Also added are Albertans age 70 and older, and Indigenous Peoples age 60 and older, with three or fewer doses and two or more pre-existing conditions.

Wastewater monitoring:

The Y-axis indicates the number of SARS-CoV2 RNA particles detected per milliliter of wastewater. This chart should only be interpreted as a measure of progress against itself and should not be used to compare with other cities or measurement sites. (Rob Easton/CBC)

The Y-axis indicates the number of SARS-CoV2 RNA particles detected in each sample. The numbers show the first number multiplied by 10 raised to the power of the previous small number. For example, 2.1 x 10¹⁵ written out in full is 2,100,000,000,000,000 or 2.1 quadrillion RNA particles detected. (Rob Easton/CBC)

  • Alberta data from a board created by the Center for Health Informatics at the University of Calgary shows the average amount of COVID-19 detected in wastewater. the data is publicly updated three times a week.
  • Copping says sewage levels in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer are far beyond their peaksbut they continue to show high levels of circulating virus.
  • The virus is shed in people’s feces before symptoms arise, so the values ​​in the data are most associated with cases occurring six days after samples are collected.
  • A note on reading wastewater charts: Numbers taken from different wastewater treatment plants use different testing and collection methods. Because of this, comparisons between cities cannot be made directly and only trends need to be evaluated. For example, there is an upward trend in readings in both Edmonton and Calgary, but whether the levels are higher in one city or the other cannot be said.

The latest on restrictions:

  • almost the entire pandemic public health measures lifted in the province beginning March 1, when the Alberta government released Step 2 of its reopening plan.
  • This phase removes indoor masking, remaining school requirements, youth screening for entertainment and sports, removal of capacity limits at all large venues and entertainment venues, limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and the compulsory work from home.
  • Masking still required in high-risk settings, including Alberta Health Services-contracted and operated facilities, all continuing care settings, and municipal transit services. The rule does not cover private services like taxis or Uber rides.
  • As of February 14, there are no masking requirements for children and youth ages 12 and under and no mask requirements for children and youth in schools of any age.
  • Level 1 entered into force on February 16 and removed the restriction waiver program.
  • Premier Jason Kenney says the province is working to a third stagewhich is undated, where people will no longer be required to isolate if they have COVID-19, and operational and COVID outbreak protocols in continuing care facilities will be lifted.
  • Copping said that all stages are condition-based approaches, based on hospitalization trends.

Vaccines:

  • According to Alberta Health, 77 percent of the population of the province, or 87 percent of those over 12 years of age, have received two doses of a vaccine against COVID-19.
  • According to statistics from Alberta Health, 44.4 percent of Albertans ages 12 and older have had three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Beginning April 12, all Albertans age 70 and older, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Albertans age 65 and older, and all seniors in group care can receive a fourth dose of the vaccine.
  • Albertans ages 12 to 17 are eligible for their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if five months have passed since their second dose.
  • Children ages six to 11 have the option to receive the Moderna vaccine beginning April 12.

Hospitalizations by region:

At the end of the day on May 16, there were 1,165 Albertans in hospital with COVID.

  • Calgary area: 452.
  • Edmonton area: 369.
  • downtown area: 161.
  • North Zone: 108.
  • South Zone: 75.




Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:



Reference-www.cbc.ca

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