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Slowing spread the goal as more Omicron cases expected in Alberta

Last Updated Dec 7, 2021 at 5:14 pm MDT

Graphic representing the SARS-CoV-2, part of the coronavirus family. UNSPLASH
Summary

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the province expects to see more Omicron cases emerge in Alberta

Active COVID infections dipped by more than 250 cases in Tuesday's update

The province is taking wastewater samples from treatment plants to look for evidence of COVID-19 in specific areas

As Alberta continues to see COVID infections decline, the province’s top doctor says we should be ready for more Omicron cases to be identified.

Currently, there are 11 cases of the new variant in Alberta, which is no change from Monday, but Dr. Deena Hinshaw doesn’t believe these are the only cases we will see.

“Given our current aggressive testing program, it is likely we will continue to detect more (Omicron) cases and respond to them as we have to date,” she said during a live update on Tuesday afternoon.

WATCH: Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides an update on COVID-19 in Alberta.

 

Hinshaw says as we continue to learn more about the variant, this isn’t the first time a new variant has surfaced, and it won’t be the last.

“We will not stop transmission,” she said. “Our goal is to slow initial spread to give us more time to learn about the variant. We already have many tools at our disposal to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants and protect ourselves from becoming severely ill.”

She also revealed that of the 11 confirmed Omicron cases in Alberta so far, seven were fully vaccinated, two were partially vaccinated and two were unvaccinated.

Tuesday’s COVID-19 case data

Meanwhile, the province released case data for the last 24 hours, and things continue to improve in Alberta.

Since Monday’s update, 240 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the province. The new cases come after 5,500 tests were completed for a positivity rate of around 4.3 per cent.

Currently, there are 4,105 active infections in Alberta —¬† a decrease of 268 cases from the day prior.

There are now 373 people in hospital with COVID, 76 of which are in the ICU.

Hinshaw also reporting on Tuesday that five more people have died with COVID in the province.

On the vaccination front, more than 5,000 kids aged five to 11 received a COVID vaccine over the last 24 hours. In total, 68,282 kids have gotten their first shot.

As for those 12 and older in Alberta, 89 per cent have received at least one dose, while 84.5 per cent are fully immunized.

To date, nearly 7.03 million doses have been administered in the province.

COVID wastewater surveillance 

Dr. Hinshaw took time on Tuesday to talk about how the province is integrating wastewater surveillance into monitoring the spread of COVID-19.

She says this involves taking samples from treatment plants and running lab tests to look for evidence of the virus.

“This approach allows us to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in a given area, functioning like an early warning system,” she explained. “It does not rely on an individual’s decision to get tested so it complements our testing data.”

She says the province has been working collaboratively with the University of Calgary on a provincewide wastewater testing regime.

“This is happening in major centers as well as in a number of smaller communities.

“There are currently 15 sites across the province including Edmonton, Calgary, Cold Lake and Medicine Hat and they’re working to bring more sites online in the coming weeks.”

Hinshaw says the University will be launching a site later this week so Albertans can see the regular data updates for themselves.