Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, Aug. 7

COVID-19 cases are creeping higher in Alberta, with hospitalizations passing the 100 mark on Thursday.

Alberta reports 369 new cases of COVID-19, active cases up to 2,719

Passengers wear masks at the Calgary Airport in Calgary on Oct. 30, 2020 amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the federal government will loosen several travel restrictions, including allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter Canada and skip quarantine. (The Canadian Press)

The latest COVID-19 numbers

  • No new data will be reported by the province this weekend.
  • Alberta reported 369 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
  • One additional death was reported. There have been a total of 2,325 deaths.
  • There were 113 people being treated in hospital for COVID in Alberta. Of those, 25 were in intensive care units.
  • The positivity rate was 5.21 per cent.
  • There were 2,719 active cases of COVID-19 across Alberta, an increase of 193 from the previous data update.
  • Calgary now has over two times more active COVID-19 cases than Edmonton. 
  • The number of COVID-19 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 one week ago. 
  • 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. 
  • The R-value, which represents the number of people infected by each infected person, was 1.48 (with a confidence interval of 1.38-1.59) as of Sunday, according to Alberta Health.
  • That number — which has doubled in recent weeks — means 100 people with the virus will spread it to 148 others.
  • 230,966 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.

(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:

  • 56.5 per cent of Albertans are now fully vaccinated against COVID, and 64.8 per cent have now received at least one dose (or 76.2 per cent of those eligible). 
  • Nationally, 81.7 per cent of those eligible have received at least one dose. In Ontario, that figure is 82 per cent, and in Quebec it's 85 per cent.
  • Alberta Health has partnered with a coalition of businesses to launch a mobile clinic that will administer first and second doses of the vaccine at remote work camps, rural communities and hard-to-reach populations. Its tour of the province began Monday in the Banff and Kananaskis areas.
  • A poll released on July 21 by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that vaccine hesitancy is more common in Alberta than in the rest of the country. The survey found that one in five Albertans remain disinclined to get a shot — twice the national average. 
  • According to the poll, in B.C. the hesitancy rate is 12 per cent, and in Ontario and Quebec it's just nine per cent.
  • Hinshaw tweeted on July 21 that the province's latest data reaffirms that vaccination provides excellent protection against infection and variants.
  • Hinshaw said one dose proves to be 57 per cent effective against the B.1.617 variant, and increases to 85 per cent with two doses. Against the B.1.1.7 variant, two doses prove to be 91 per cent effective.
  • She also noted that 96 per cent of Albertans who have tested positive for the virus since Jan. 1 had not had two doses of vaccine, and 91 per cent of COVID-19 deaths and 95 per cent of hospital and intensive care unit admissions followed the same trend.

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 Friday:

  • Calgary zone: 1,414.
  • Edmonton zone: 527.
  • South zone: 309.
  • North zone: 305.
  • Central zone: 160.
  • Unknown: 4.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press


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