Alberta reports 49 new COVID-19 deaths as hospitalizations rise

Forty-nine more COVID-19-related deaths were reported in Alberta Wednesday as the province continues to see a rise in the number of people in hospital with the illness.

The province provided its weekly COVID update Wednesday with data from April 12 to 18. 

As of Wednesday’s update, there are 1,126 people in hospital with COVID, up from 1,053 last week. Included in the 1,126 are 43 people being treated in ICU, a slight decline from the 46 reported last week. 

Health Minister Jason Copping said Wednesday that wastewater COVID levels are high in many locations, and in Edmonton, the current levels are almost matching the peak of the original Omicron wave. He said levels are rising more slowly in Calgary.

“More importantly, we’re not seeing the same impact on hospital admissions that we’ve seen before,” Copping said Wednesday at a news conference.

Copping said the number of patients in hospital is stable, but noted there are hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary that are operating over 100 per cent capacity. 

“That’s a concern, obviously, but it’s also in line with past years before COVID. And likewise, emergency departments and EMS are continuing to see very high volumes of patients and that means delays and long waitlists for some patients,” he said.

He said the government is working on adding health system capacity.

There were 6,125 new COVID cases reported over the seven day period, detected through 24,745 tests. The new case numbers only include those who test positive on a PCR test, which most Albertans can’t access. The seven-day average test positivity rate is 25.9 per cent.

Copping said the province is working on a new third-dose vaccine campaign, as Alberta has among the lowest booster uptake in the country at just 37.1 per cent. He noted some of the low uptake may be because people needed to wait to get their third dose after recovering from COVID.

“One of the issues that we’re also dealing with is there’s a large proportion of the population who got BA.1, and the advice from the national advisory committee is [to] wait 90 days, then you get your other shot. Well, we’re almost at that point now,” Copping said.  

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