Expert Warns of Another Wave of COVID-19 as Alberta Wastewater Data Rises |

A health expert in Alberta is warning of another wave of COVID-19, as provincial sewage data suggests transmission is set to increase.

Data from the University of Calgary provincial wastewater database they show that Calgary and Edmonton are seeing an increase in cases.

As of July 4, 568 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of them, 21 are in the ICU.

However, officials say the number could be higher due to restrictions on who can get a PCR test through AHS.

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Xiaoli Pang, a molecular virologist and professor at the University of Alberta, said COVID-19 never went away and community transmission is still happening in Edmonton.

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However, there is no significant increase in cases in Alberta despite an overall increase in community transmission.

“I can’t provide hard data that it’s going to increase… We may have to review the data in another two weeks,” Pang said.

“There are some model predictors that say the BA.5 subvariant will cause the seventh wave, but it’s still too early to tell.”

The spike in COVID-19 cases comes after the province lifted all COVID-19 public health restrictions on June 13, which included the mandatory use of masks on public transport and mandatory isolation.

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At the time, Health Minister Jason Copping said that Albertans need to live with the virus and that the government will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the province.

It also comes as the Calgary Stampede officially kicked off on Friday, raising concerns about a superspreading event in the province. However, Prime Minister Jason Kenney stated that there is no evidence that events like the Stampede will cause another wave of COVID-19.

“Last summer we had no restrictions and there was no increase in cases after the Stampede. We didn’t see a significant increase in COVID-19 cases until the Delta wave in mid-August, so the two weren’t connected,” Kenney said.

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“We are like the rest of the world moving forward with life. There are only 20 people in the ICU and I don’t think people should shelter at home living in fear.”

But Pang said he is concerned about a rise in cases due to the increase in outdoor events and activities.

“What really worries me is the beautiful weather and the increase in outdoor events and activities, like Stampede… But again, I can’t provide hard data that cases will absolutely increase,” Pang said.

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