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Alberta reports nearly 13K COVID-19 cases since New Year's Eve

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Alberta reported 12,965 COVID-19 cases for the past four days on Tuesday.

The province counted 4,570 cases on Friday, 3,323 on Saturday, 2,059 on Sunday and 3,013 on Monday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced.

The positivity rate over that timeframe was between 28 and 36 per cent, "the highest positivity rate we've seen with any variant since the pandemic began," Hinshaw said.

Alberta has more than 30,000 active cases of the disease, Premier Jason Kenney said.

However, provincially imposed limitations to testing capacity means those stats undercount the number of actual COVID-19 cases. Results also do not include those from take-home rapid test kits.

Twelve more deaths linked to COVID-19 were registered since Dec. 28, including a child in the 5-9 age group, Hinshaw said.

The government didn't introduce new restrictions on Tuesday, but the premier asked Albertans to do three things to try to prevent more spread: get vaccinated, reduce contacts and take rapid tests.

Kenney expects hospitalizations to increase but added 70 per cent of ICU patients are unvaccinated and none have a booster shot.

There are 436 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, including 61 in the ICU.

"It's still too soon to know exactly how Omicron will impact Alberta, however, given how fast Omicron is spreading, now is the time for each of us to make changes that impact the case counts and therefore the downstream flow into hospitals," Hinshaw said.

Alberta's COVID-19 committee will meet on Wednesday, Kenney said.

The province will report its latest COVID-19 data that afternoon.

OTHER COVID-19 RELATED NEWS 

Alberta is estimating some 68,000 residents have or will develop what's called "long COVID." Those affected by the condition want support accessing insurance and forming treatment plans.

Preliminary wastewater analysis indicates Alberta is entering the start of an Omicron wave, worrying some doctors about stress on the health-care system.

Effective Monday, COVID-19-positive Albertans who have two doses of vaccine only need to isolate for five days if their symptoms are fully resolved by then. 

The Provincial Court of Alberta and Queen's Bench is adjourning all adult and youth criminal non-urgent out of custody trials, preliminary inquires, and other hearings requiring oral or in-person evidence between Jan. 4 to 21 in response to increasing COVID-19 cases.