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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, Aug. 12

Alberta reported 550 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. There are 146 people in hospital, including 36 in ICU.

Alberta again reports highest daily case count since late May

'I’ve been doing at-home school for a while, and I kind of want to get back in school in person and just be in that community again,' says Songyu Li, 15, about why he got the COVID-19 vaccine. 'I want to be safe. I want to visit friends, say hello, play boardgames.' (Alberta Health Services)

The latest COVID-19 numbers

  • Alberta reported 550 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.
  • There were 4,101 active cases across Alberta, an increase of 332 from the previous data update.
  • There were 146 people being treated in hospital for COVID in Alberta. Of those, 36 were in intensive care units.
  • The positivity rate was 6.45 per cent.
  • No more deaths were reported. There have been a total of 2,331 deaths.
  • The R-value, which represents the number of people infected by each infected person, was 1.25 (with a confidence interval of 1.2-1.31) as of Monday. 
  • 231,925 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.
  • The number of cases linked to the Calgary Stampede continues to grow. As of Wednesday, 129 people were confirmed to have caught COVID-19 at the 10-day festival, which ended on July 18. That's up from 84 cases a week earlier. Two of those people have been hospitalized.
  • Alberta Health said 325 people attended the Stampede during their incubation period for the disease, but that many attended other activities during that period — meaning that number doesn't translate to cases acquired at the festival. 

(Note the latest daily count of new cases in the above chart will usually vary slightly from the net new cases Alberta Health announces each day. For more on why, click here.)

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • Alberta's top doctor is defending the province's plan to lift all of its COVID-19 public health restrictions. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the decision was made after her team reviewed data on age-specific outcomes related to COVID-19, vaccine effectiveness and modelling on transmission of the Delta variant and related health outcomes.
  • She says lifting precautions, including isolation requirements, asymptomatic testing and contact tracing will support the whole health of Albertans by allowing the province to focus on other health threats, opioid deaths and syphilis.
  • The move has prompted concerns from physicians and political leaders across Canada, including federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu. Some experts note that the virus is now spreading faster in Alberta than during the pandemic's third wave.
  • Alberta is relaxing the remaining restrictions in a two-phased approach over the coming days. 
  • As of Thursday, July 29, the following changes went into effect:   
         
    • Quarantine for close contacts is no longer mandatory but recommended. 
    •    
    • Contact tracers no longer notify close contacts. Contact tracers will continue to investigate high-risk settings like continuing care facilities. 
    •    
    • Asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended. 
    •    
  • On Aug. 16, the following changes will go into effect:   
         
    • You will no longer be required to isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, but isolation will still be strongly recommended. 
    •    
    • Isolation hotels and quarantine supports will no longer be available. 
    •    
    • Testing will be available for symptomatic people when needed to help direct patient care decisions.
    •    
    • After Aug. 31, testing for COVID-19 will be available for patients whose symptoms are severe enough to need care in hospitals or physicians' clinics.
    •    
    • Masking won't be required in schools. 
    •    
    • Masks will no longer be required on public transit, or in most continuing care facilities. 
    •    
  • The U.S. land border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21, according to a renewal order issued by the American government. The U.S. government said while vaccination rates have improved, opening the land border to non-essential travel still poses too high a risk.
  • Ottawa says starting Aug. 9 at 12:01 a.m. ET fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
  • The government said it plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to enter Canada without quarantine on Sept. 7.
  • Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated will need to show documents proving they received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
  • Officials said travellers must electronically submit COVID-19-related information to the government's ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan.
  • Alberta entered Stage 3 of its three-stage reopening plan on July 1, lifting most restrictions.

The latest on vaccines:

  • 57.3 per cent of all Albertans are fully vaccinated against COVID, and 65.2 per cent have received at least one dose (or 76.6 per cent of those eligible). 
  • Nationally, 71.6 per cent of the total population have received at least one dose. In Ontario, that figure is 71.6 per cent, and in Quebec it's 73.8 per cent.
  • Provincial data indicates that, from July 1 to Aug. 9, roughly 69 per cent of the COVID-19 infections were among unvaccinated people, compared with 19 per cent who were partially vaccinated and 12 per cent who were fully vaccinated.
  • Among people hospitalized for COVID, 77.4 per cent were unvaccinated, 13.8 per cent were partially vaccinated and 8.6 per cent were fully inoculated. 
  • And among people being treated in ICU for COVID, 85.3 per cent were unvaccinated and only about seven per cent were fully or partially vaccinated. 
  • Matt Wolf, executive director of issues management for Premier Jason Kenney, noted that "breakthrough" infections of fully vaccinated people leading to serious illness are generally among elderly Albertans with underlying health problems.
  • "Bottom line: vaccinations have been highly effective in Alberta at preventing infection and serious illness," he said.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Thursday.

  • Calgary zone: 1,698.
  • Edmonton zone: 955.
  • South zone: 582.
  • North zone: 566.
  • Central zone: 292.
  • Unknown: 8.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

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