COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to drop in Alberta but R value rises slightly

Some doctors have been raising concerns that Alberta's reopening plan is moving too quickly. Kim Smith spoke with Dr. Darren Markland, intensive care physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, about what he's seeing in the ICU and what he anticipates this summer will be like in Alberta.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to decline in Alberta.

On Monday, there were 439 people in hospital with the virus, the 13th straight day it’s declined. It was 446 on Sunday.

Alberta Health said Monday there were 133 people in intensive care with COVID-19, a statistic that has also been going down over the last week.

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The province confirmed 263 new cases of COVID-19 Monday out of 4,411 tests. Alberta’s positivity sat at around 5.9 per cent.

There were 7,646 active COVID-19 cases across the province, another metric that’s been declining over the last two weeks.

However, the R value — or transmission rate — rose slightly this week to 0.72. It was 0.67 for the province last week. The R value is updated weekly.

Eight additional COVID-19 deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours, two of which had no known comorbidities.

Those cases were in two men in their 60s — one in the Calgary zone and one in the North zone.

The other six deaths were a man and woman in their 50s from the Central zone, two women — one in her 70s, the other in her 90s — and a man in his 80s from the Edmonton zone, and a man in his 50s from the Calgary zone.

Those cases all had known comorbidities.

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Stage 1 of Alberta’s reopening plan starts June 1.

Among other things, personal and wellness services, and restaurant patios will also be able to reopen. More may be reopening soon.

The Alberta government released its "Open for Summer" plan Wednesday, May 26, 2021, to lift COVID-19 restrictions in three stages.

The Alberta government released its "Open for Summer" plan Wednesday, May 26, 2021, to lift COVID-19 restrictions in three stages.

Credit: Alberta government

Alberta passed the threshold for Stage 2 on Saturday, with over 60 per cent of people 12 and older vaccinated with one dose and hospitalizations below 500.

The percentage of Albertans over 12 years old who’ve received one dose of vaccine is 62.8. Just over 10 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated with two doses.

The province could start Stage 2 of its “Open For Summer” plan on June 10.

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“With 60 per cent of eligible Albertans vaccinated, Stage 2 easing could begin on June 10, subject to hospitalizations being below 500 and trending downwards,” an Alberta government spokesperson said in a statement.

Stage 2 will lift the work-from-home order, allow outdoor public gatherings like concerts and festivals with up to 150 people (with distancing), permit indoor fitness and dining, and allow in-person post-secondary education.

 

As of May 30, 2,781,430 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered.

The province is expected to provide more information on Alberta’s second-dose strategy this week.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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