Alberta reported 721 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday — the highest daily count since late October — as Omicron variant cases jumped to more than 1,000.
In Monday’s updated numbers, the province counted a total of 1,925 new COVID-19 cases over the previous three days, including 627 on Friday and 577 on Sunday, with test positivity rates of more than six per cent each day. Saturday’s number represents the highest new daily cases since Oct. 20, when there were 764 confirmed, according to the latest statistics.
There were 872 newly-confirmed Omicron variant cases reported in the province on Monday — soaring to 1,045 from 173 in three days.
The number of Albertans hospitalized due to COVID-19 dropped to 342, including 69 patients in intensive care, a total decrease of 20 patients in hospital since Friday’s numbers.
The province reported six more deaths, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 3,292. Active cases in the province rose to 5,652, the majority of which are in the Calgary zone, at 2,924, while in the Edmonton zone there are 1,630.
Last week, the number of active cases rose in Alberta to 4,431 from 4,016 with three straight days of increases from Wednesday through Friday.
NDP Opposition health critic David Shepherd said at a Monday news conference a fifth wave is “barrelling” towards Alberta, and called for the government to reverse its decision, announced last week , to relax household gathering limits over the holidays to allow for as many as 10 vaccinated or unvaccinated people from any number of households to gather indoors.
“We know that Christmas is a time that is best shared with our families and friends, and we all want to be with our loved ones — but these are not normal times. The loosening of restrictions flies in the face of what so many respected health experts have been advising Canadians on how to stay safe as Omicron spreads,” said Shepherd, who reiterated the NDP’s call for COVID-19 booster shots to be made available to every Albertan over 18 years of age.
Meanwhile, in light of concerns over the Omicron variant, Alberta Health Services announced it would limit access to acute and continuing care sites to protect patients, residents and health-care providers temporarily.
Beginning Tuesday, designated support persons and visitors who are close contacts of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 won’t be able to visit, including those who are fully immunized.
This means that designated support persons or visitors who are a close contact or have a case of COVID-19 in their home will not be able to access continuing care or acute care sites for 14 days from the date of last exposure.
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