Alberta reports 127 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, lowest active cases since October
In Tuesday's COVID-19 update, the province reported 127 new cases and 2,804 active cases, the lowest since Oct. 15.
This is the sixth day in a row Alberta has reported fewer than 200 new daily cases.
Dr. André Corriveau, the deputy chief medical officer of health for Alberta, also announced 85 of the new cases were variants of concern. Corriveau is filling in for Dr. Deena Hinshaw this week while she's on vacation.
The 127 new cases come after more than 4,400 tests, meaning the province is sitting at a positivity rate of 2.9 per cent. Corriveau also announced four new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
There are 271 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with 68 in the ICU, according to Corriveau.
Currently, there are 216 COVID-19 outbreaks or alerts in schools in the province. Edmonton Public Schools announced that Malmo and Balwin schools each had one new case than that 39 students and seven staff were quarantining.
As of June 13, Alberta had administered 3,480,407 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. First doses are closing in on 70 per cent with 69.4 per cent of eligible Albertans receiving one vaccine, while 22 per cent of people are fully immunized.
Corriveau echoed sentiments that the vaccine lottery announced Saturday will help increase vaccination rates, which have been declining over recent weeks.
'SEVERE ADVERSE EFFECTS HAVE BEEN EXCEEDINGLY RARE'
Corriveau encouraged Albertans who are still hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine to talk to a health care professional or a similar “credible” source.
“Vaccines are safe, effective and they do save lives,” said Corriveau. “To date, we have had 559 adverse events reported to Alberta Health, which represents roughly .015 per cent of all people who have been vaccinated… and most of these were minor symptoms.”
After receiving a first dose, Corriveau highlighted the importance of arranging to receive a second dose.
“The second one is what will give us a sustainable recovery from this pandemic experience,” said Corriveau.
Corriveau also reminded Albertans that there are walk-in clinics available for people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re working really hard to accelerate access to the second doses to all Albertans to we get to our goal as soon as possible,” said Corriveau.
He also talked about how people who have gotten a Pfizer or Moderna shot will be able to get a second dose of either of those mRNA vaccines.
“Whichever vaccine you receive, be confident that you’re receiving great protection in a safe way against the virus,” said Corriveau.
He said that the province is looking at the possibility of moving up the date for people who received their first vaccine dose in May to book their second dose. Currently, those people can begin booking a second dose on June 28.
“We’re doing the math right now to be able to speed up the access… we hope to be able to make an announcement later this week about when that will occur.”
RISING DELTA VARIANT CASES
Corriveau did say that the province was concerned about the Delta variant, which is slowly spreading in Alberta.
“It has shown itself to be much more transmissible than even the other variants we have experienced,” said Corriveau. “The good news is that… the vaccine, when people have received two doses, is still very effective.
“The other thing is that as our numbers decrease overall, a more transmissible variant will naturally become more dominant as a result.”
Corriveau added that while the province isn’t ruling out the possibility that the virus is airborne, it isn’t a “major form of transmission.”
He also reminded Albertans to “limit your travel to what you feel is necessary,” until the province moves into Stage 3 of reopening. That stage is set to begin two weeks after the province reaches 70 per cent of eligible Albertans having received a first dose of a vaccine.
Corriveau said the province is starting modelling on if and when the Delta variant could cause a fourth wave.
“It will really depend on how many people have received their second dose,” said Corriveau. “We think we can achieve our goal of avoiding a significant fourth wave by reaching high levels of second doses.”