COVID-19 in Alberta: 484 new cases as hospitalizations fall below 600 on Wednesday
The number of COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals fell below 600 for the first time since early September on Wednesday.
There are now 582 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 123 patients in intensive care units.
The province also reported 484 new cases as well as five more deaths.
- Infographics: COVID-19 in Alberta by the numbers
- COVID-19 in your community: Edmonton’s coronavirus status in numbers
The deaths are spread across several days and bring the number of Albertans to have died due to COVID-19 up to 3,164.
Alberta is averaging about four deaths from COVID-19 a day over the past week.
Unvaccinated Albertans remain significantly more likely to suffer a severe outcome after contracting COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
Alberta Health will not update the province’s COVID-19 data on Thursday due to Remembrance Day. Numbers for Wednesday and Thursday will be provided on Friday afternoon.
Alberta is also beginning to administer sotrovimab to some patients to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
Sotrovimab is a type of protein that attaches to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, and prevents the virus from entering and infecting healthy cells, according to Health Canada, which approved its use in July.
It is not considered a replacement for vaccine.
The next phase of Alberta's Restrictions Exemption Program starts next week.
Paper copies of vaccine records will no longer be accepted by businesses and events participating in the system; Albertans will need to provide their QR code or a recent, privately paid negative test.
MASK, VACCINE MANDATES
Alberta's largest cities are deciding what to do with mandates they put in place for the pandemic.
Edmonton's new council decided Tuesday the city's face covering bylaw will remain in effect indefinitely. The bylaw -- which would have seen the rule automatically repealed after 10 days of cases falling below 100 per 100,000 people -- would have expired on Dec. 31.
Now, it must be removed by a vote by councillors. Edmonton had counted five consecutive cases of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
In Calgary, the city's police chief is concerned a vaccine mandate will stress staffing levels. As of Nov. 1, 96 per cent of Calgary Police Service's employees had submitted their immunization status and 86 per cent of those had reported being fully vaccinated.
Speaking Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney declined to comment specifically on the issue before Calgary's municipal government, but suggested the city could follow what's been mandated in the Alberta public service.
“If there are some people who are absolutely determined not to get vaccinated, getting a rapid test that can demonstrate that they're safe to work, I think that that could be a sensible compromise," he said.
At the end of October, Alberta Health Services extended a deadline to submit proof of vaccination to Nov. 30, also citing staffing concerns.
Kenney added his government was "asking AHS to exercise common sense in those situations and not to undermine the quality of patient care in the way that this is applied."
VACCINE AND PREGNANCY
The top doctor also tried to correct misinformation that COVID-19 vaccines cause miscarriages.
She said there is no evidence that either miscarriages or stillborn deaths have increased since Alberta's COVID-19 immunization program began.
“In fact, evidence shows that there has been a slight, but steady, reduction in the number of miscarriages in Alberta, starting in 2019, prior to the COVID pandemic, and this has continued over the following two years.”
Edmonton Top Stories
DEVELOPING | Body of missing B.C. woman found 5 years later, boyfriend charged with murder: victim's family