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COVID-19 in Alberta: New cases, hospitalizations increase in final week of 2022

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After falling for six consecutive weeks, COVID-19-related hospitalizations saw a brief increase in the last week of December, according to Alberta Health's final data update for 2022.

Released Friday, the update shows 16 days' worth of data instead of the usual seven.

Alberta now has 912 Albertans in hospital with the coronavirus, 40 of whom are receiving care in ICUs.

During the holiday period, the number of patients increased from 883 in the week of Dec. 20 to 937 by the week of Dec. 27. As of Jan. 4, 912 Albertans were in hospital with the virus.

ICU admissions have increased for the last two weeks, going from 34 patients in the week of Dec. 13 to 43 in the week of Dec. 27. As of Jan. 4, 40 Albertans were receiving ICU care.

Alberta Health data is routinely updated for accuracy and to account for reporting delays.

According to the province, 325 of the 908 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Dec. 28 were hospitalized for reasons directly related to the virus. The other 583 people were admitted for other reasons but incidentally tested positive.

In the ICU, 47 per cent of patients were being treated because of COVID-19.

Alberta’s total number of COVID-19-related deaths went up by 64. Of the new deaths reported, 10 belong to the week of Dec. 27 and 18 belong to the week of Dec. 20.

Thirty-five of the deaths were retroactively added to prior weeks of 2022, while one death was retroactively added to the year 2020.

The provincial death toll now sits at 5,415.

Over a 16-day period, Alberta Health has counted 2,053 new COVID-19 cases in 13,872 PCR tests.

Both the number of tests conducted and new cases went down for five weeks in a row, but increased in the week of Dec. 27.

The average positivity rate was on the decline for two weeks, but rose for the last two weeks of December. In the week of Dec. 27, the positivity rate was at 16.61 per cent, up from 14.90 per cent the week prior.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE?

On Jan. 4, 2022, 538 Albertans were hospitalized with COVID-19. In 2021, there were 903. This year, 912 people are hospitalized with the virus.

On the same day in 2022, there were 60 people with the virus requiring ICU care, while there were 141 in 2021. This year, there are 40 Albertans in the ICU.

It is not known how many people in 2020 and 2021 were hospitalized and admitted to the ICU because of the virus versus people who were admitted for other reasons and incidentally tested positive, as that statistic was only made available by Alberta Health as of February 2022.

The year 2020 had 1,215 deaths, while 2021 had 2,104. That’s nine more deaths than in 2022, which had a total of 2,095.

The next data update is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 11. 

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