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How do previous COVID waves stack up to the current situation?

Last Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 6:35 am MDT

CALGARY — With over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day, Alberta is in the thick of the fourth wave.

Surgeries are being postponed and more ICU beds are being created. We’ve been here before, but the responses from the first wave to the fourth have been different.

Back on Mar. 17, 2020, Premier Jason Kenney announced a state of emergency – and the first COVID restrictions were put in place.

At that time, 119 total cases of the virus had been discovered in the province.

Eleven days later when daily new case counts were in the dozens, more restrictions for close contact businesses came into play – and dine-in service was shuttered.

The first wave peaked on Apr. 29, 2020 – the highest daily count was 315 new cases. And come May 14, the first stage of the relaunch was underway.


In comparison to other waves, the second wave’s peak was five times that of the first.

On Dec. 14, 1,887 cases were tallied — just days after the premier announced sweeping measures that saw the province essentially locked down over the Christmas holidays.

The third wave peaked the first week of May 2021, where the seven-day average of new cases was just over the 2,000 mark.

That week, the province moved kids back to online learning and restaurants back to take out. This coming as the vaccine was starting to get in the arms of Alberta’s Gen X population.

On the day of those restrictions, May 5, 2021, 666 people were reported in hospital, with 146 of those people receiving care in the ICU.

Nearly identical hospitalization numbers are being seen right now during this fourth wave – the only difference is that the number of COVID cases is half of the previous wave, likely due to the vaccine.