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5th wave 'a risk' as Albertans gather inside, Hinshaw warns


As temperatures begin to drop and Albertans start heading indoors, the province’s top doctor is reminding people to be vigilant of COVID-19 during the cooler months.

In her COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there is a “risk we could see a fifth wave” due to the “seasonality of the virus.”

“Transmission increases when we have people who are infectious coming in contact with people who are susceptible to the virus and the greater the number of contacts between people especially in indoor locations,” she explained.

Hinshaw said Albertans “have the tools” needed to help mitigate the “aggressive nature” of transmitting COVID-19, in particular the Delta variant.

Some of those tools include regular hand washing, getting vaccinated, staying home when sick, masking when indoors and avoiding crowded rooms with poor ventilation.

“The more of us that participate in the multi layers of protection, the less the chance of a fifth wave that could increase the strain on our health-care system this winter,” she said.

Hinshaw told media she does not anticipate further restrictions in the coming months if people continue to follow the guidelines.

“We’re in a bit of a plateau but we are still slowly declining.”

Dr. Noel Gibey, professor emeritus, department of critical care medicine at the University of Alberta, said it’s critical for the province to watch what’s playing out around the world, in particular northern Europe because their vaccination rate is higher.

“They’ve had a huge wave recently by virtue of the 10 per cent that are not vaccinated plus the other individuals who got their vaccines more than six months ago and have break-through infections,” he explained.

“It’s very likely based on that alone we will see another outbreak at some point in the next two, three months.”

COVID-19 booster shots are being offered to eligible Albertans, but Hinshaw has stressed the importance of waiting at least six months between the second and third vaccination to ensure long-term immunity.

“We don’t want to waste vaccine protection by giving boosters too soon,” she said. Top Stories

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