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New COVID infections drop, hospitalizations continue downward trend

Last Updated Oct 20, 2021 at 6:20 am MDT

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19. According to research released in 2021, evidence is mounting that having COVID-19 may not protect against getting infected again with some of the new variants. People also can get second infections with earlier versions of the coronavirus if they mounted a weak defense the first time. (Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP)
Summary

New COVID infections reported on Tuesday are the lowest seen since late August

Without additional surge spaces, Alberta's ICU capacity would be at 163 per cent

More than 6.36 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date in Alberta

After reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day earlier this month, Alberta continues to see an improvement in daily COVID infections reported.

Over the last day, 531 new cases of the virus have been reported after more than 8,000 tests were completed for a positivity rate of around 6.6 per cent.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are now 11,402 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

The province is also reporting 12 more people have died from COVID-19.

As for hospitalizations, there are now 964 people in hospital, a decrease of 17 from Monday.

Of those in hospital, 218 are in the ICU.

“As of this afternoon, we have 376 general adult ICU beds in the province with 75 per cent of those occupied by someone needing critical care. Without the additional 203 surge spaces, we would be at 163 per cent occupancy,” said Alberta Health Services President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu.


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As for vaccinations in Alberta, more than 6.36 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date.

Of those 12 and older in the province, 86.1 per cent have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, while 77.6 per cent are now fully immunized.

Continuing care changes

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 25, anybody visiting a long term care facility will be required to wear a mask in all indoor areas, including in residents’ rooms.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says this will apply to all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

“The only exception will be in cases where there are significant communication challenges, such as a resident being hard of hearing or an individual with dementia,” Hinshaw said.

Other changes are also being made to rules around quarantining and testing.

All long term care and designated supportive living residents, regardless of vaccination status, must be quarantined temporarily when being admitted to a facility from acute care or returning from a hospital state that was longer than 24 hours.

Hinshaw says the quarantine will only last until the resident receives a negative PCR test result.

“This is intended to help prevent the virus from entering these facilities where we know it can possibly spread quickly and put many at risk,” Hinshaw explained.

She says she is also sending a letter out, strongly encouraging families and friends who are not fully vaccinated to not visit a resident in person.

“In the letter, I will also reinforce that operators have the authority to implement additional mandatory measures in their facilities, as appropriate, in consultation with their residents and families.”

Hinshaw says this could include requirements for proof of vaccination or rapid testing for visitors entering a care facility.