Infographics: COVID-19 in Alberta by the numbers
An employee of the Cargill beef-packing plant receives a COVID-19 vaccination in High River, Alberta on Thursday April 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jason Dziver
EDMONTON -- The COVID-19 pandemic continues into its second year and third wave across Canada and Alberta as cases, but also vaccinations, continue to mount.
This page is updated daily with new information on Alberta, Canada and international cases of COVID-19 is made available.
Follow the links below or scroll down to for the lastest on the evolving COVID-19 situation in Alberta.
The number of new cases represents the number of patients who are newly infected with the coronavirus.
The number of active cases represents the number of people currently infectious with COVID-19. The value can can go up or down depending on the number of daily new cases and daily new recoveries on a given day. It is displayed as a seven-day rolling average in the graph above.
A recovery is someone who contracted COVID-19 but didn't die due to the virus. It is not synonymous with a return to full health as many "long hauler" patients report severe symptoms after their infections have cleared.
Alberta Health defines a recovery as follows:
- A return to health after 14 days of isolation for those with COVID-19 but who experienced only mild symptoms.
- If hospitalized due to COVID-19, anyone who does not require additional hospitalization or treatment in the 10 days after they left the hospital.
- If tested, such as a health care worker, two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
The reproduction value, or R-Value, measures the expected number of cases directly caused by one case. It informs if cases are increasing or decreasing and relies on a number of models that estimate past and future factors.
The value can be calculated using one of several different models which estimate a number of past and future factors around the virus and population.
A value of one means an infected person will infect one other person, on average. A value above one means the spread is growing. A value below one means the spread is slowing.
The province has provided the statistic on a weekly basis since Dec. 8.
COVID-19 vaccinations promise a way out of the pandemic, in time.
Vaccines have been distributed in Alberta since late 2020 with the number of shots given out increasing through the early part of 2021.
The province's latest reopening plan, announced in late May, ties the lifting of health restrictions primarily to vaccinations rates of those aged 12 and older. Hospitalizations are also considered in the plan's initial stages.
- Interactive map: COVID-19 vaccinations by Edmonton communities
- Coronavirus vaccination tracker: How many people in Canada have received shots?
Four vaccines, developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have been authorized for use in Canada to date.
The federal government is responsible for securing the vaccine supply while the individual provinces are tasked with distributing those supplies to their populations.
Most vaccines require a second shot, and possibly a further booster shot months or years later to ensure continued immunity.
Alberta began rolling out its vaccination plan in late 2020. By January 2021, Albertans over the age of 75 were eligibile to book a shot. Vaccine eligiblity has grown from mid-March onwards and expanded to all Albertans born in 2009 or earlier on May 10.
CITIES AND REGIONS
Since early April, the province has provided a geographic breakdown of cases for its five health zones, community-level subzones and individual cities.
- Infographics: COVID-19 cases in Calgary
- COVID-19 in Edmonton: Numbers broken down by neighbourhood
- Interactive map: COVID-19 case status in Edmonton communities
- Interactive map: COVID-19 vaccinations by Edmonton communities
Alberta Health Services divides the province into five administrative health zones: Calgary, Central, Edmonton, North and South.
A map of those zones can be seen here, and it's important to note that the Edmonton and Calgary zones cover areas significantly bigger than the cities they are named after.
See the section above for vaccination data by city and local area.
All regions of the province have seen at least one sizable outbreak at some point in the pandemic.
HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS
Tracking hospitalizations is an important indicator of how severely the pandemic is affecting Albertans and the amount of stress it's placing on the province's health care system.
Alberta Health has said the system's capacity to handle COVID-19 patients can be increased to 425 ICU beds, but at the cost of fewer staff and other resources for other patients and procedures, including the cancellation of non-essential surgeries and medical procedures.
The province's general ICU capacity of about 170 beds that are used for all patients, not just ones battling COVID-19.
Like all Alberta COVID-19 data, hospitalization figures are often retroactively updated by the province for accuracy as individual hospitals report data at varying times and speeds.
See below to compare hospitalization rates by province.
Deaths are reported daily but a given day's count doesn't necessarily mean all of those deaths happened the day before.
Instead, deaths are reported by the date they occurred and can be attributed several days, or even weeks, prior to being publicly announced.
Alberta has been among the top provinces in Canada measured by per capita COVID-19 testing volume since the start of the pandemic.
Test positivity percentage provides insight into what proportion of daily tests are returned with positive results.
It can generally be calculated by dividing the number of positive results by number of tests, but Alberta Health cautions that confirmed cases canappear the reporting system two to three days later. The precise figure takes that delay into account and is provided by the province.
The above heat map displays active cases by age range, with darker shading representing more active infections.
Since the onset of the pandemic, COVID-19 has affected the elderly more than other age groups as seen by comparably higher hospitalization and death rates. Vaccine distribution focused on the province's elderly population has helped slow that trend by spring of 2021.
By the start of May 2021, all age groups below 60 had hit pandemic highs in active cases before falling later that month due to growing vaccination numbers and renewed public health restrictions.
Deaths have skewed heavily towards the elderly population, particularly in the first and second wave. Vaccinations helped temper this trend by the spring of 2021 where cases and deaths moved towards younger demographics
Variants occur when a virus develops a set of mutations that change its genetic code enough that it reacts differently than the original strain, but also not enough that it becomes its own virus.
A series of variants that developed in late 2020 drew particular concern due to being more transmissible, and in some cases more deadly, than the initial strain.
- What are the different COVID-19 variants and why do they matter?
- COVID-19 variant tracker: cases by province and territory
- What you need to know about COVID-19 variants in Canada
These variants are identified by the location of their discovery or through letters and numbers, but efforts have been made to rename them to avoid stigmatizing entire cities and countries.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases had been screened for variants since Feb. 1, 2021.
Alberta Health notes the need for a second screening delays the reporting of variant cases by up to two days, though delays in other provinces are often much longer.
On April 11, Alberta Health data showed that for the first time, variants made up a majority of the province's active COVID-19 cases.
On May 1, the province announced it had stopped testing all samples and was screening only a representative samples from specific populations in order to maintain capacity.
The low number of samples screens negated the value of the raw numbers, so the above graph displays variant types as a proportion of all daily samples screened.
Alberta Health said it was resuming screening all confirmed cases again starting June 1.
Alberta Health has said variants have become, and will continue to be, the dominant strain in Alberta, meaning that every new case should be assumed to be a variant.
The above interactive graphic shows total and population adjusted numbers for cases, active cases, deaths and vaccinations across Canada's provinces and territories.
Conclusions drawn from comparing provinces are somewhat limited by widely differing testing volumes and practices among provinces, but the raw data does allow from some contrast.
Rates adjusted for population provide a snapshot of the COVID-19 situation on any given day, but experts say the growth of the virus, which is unrelated to population size, is also an important indicator of future trends.