Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Dec. 20

The total number of Omicron cases in Alberta has soared to 1,045, which is up from the 173 cases reported last week.

There is a total of 1,045 Omicron cases in the province

A nurse wearing blue gloves handles a COVID-19 test swab.
There have now been 1,045 cases of Omicron identified in Alberta. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The latest COVID-19 numbers: 

  • The Alberta government reported Monday:   
    • There were 1,925 new COVID cases over the weekend.
    • 5,652 total active cases, up from 4,431 on Friday. Calgary once again leads the province in total cases, with nearly twice as many as second-place Edmonton.
    • 324 people with COVID are in hospital, including 69 in intensive care. 
    • Six new deaths

  • When it comes to the Omicron variant of concern, as of Dec. 20:   
    • The total number of Omicron cases in Alberta has soared to 1,045, up from 173 on Dec. 17.
    • About half of the variant cases — 613 — are in the Calgary zone.

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  • Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 3,292 Albertans have died of COVID.
  • 334,004 Albertans have recovered.
  • There are active alerts or outbreaks in 169 schools.
  • Confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in three schools run by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), the organization said on Dec. 16.
  • The Calgary Catholic School District has two confirmed cases of Omicron, each at a different school.
  • On Dec. 19, the University of Calgary — citing rising cases of Omicron — cancelled the remainder of  in-person exams for the semester. The university also said any activities not required to be in person would be moved online for Jan. 3-7 and encouraged everyone to work remotely through to Jan. 9.
  • Provincewide, the R-value for Nov. 29 to Dec.12 was 0.96, with a confidence interval between 0.92 and 1.01. An R-value below 1.0 means transmission is no longer growing.
  • The R-value for the Edmonton zone is 0.99, and in Calgary it's 0.96. In the rest of Alberta, the rate is 0.93.

    The latest on restrictions, rapid testing and more:

    • Alberta has had a restrictions exemption programa voluntary vaccine passport system, in place as of Sept. 20 after suffering through a disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19. A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government's website. 
    • Premier Jason Kenney said on Dec. 15 that the province was loosening its private social gathering restrictions, scrapping the rule that only people from two households can get together indoors.   
      • Social gatherings can now consist of people from any household, but groups must not exceed 10 people. Albertans under the age of 18 do not count in that tally.
      • The requirement that all people at indoor social gatherings be fully vaccinated is also being dropped. 
    • Starting Dec. 17, the Alberta government made free take-home COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits available for at-home use on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last:   
      • The kits are intended for people without symptoms of COVID-19. Those who do have symptoms should stay home, isolate and book a PCR test through Alberta Health Services.
      • There's a limit of one box per person within 14 days and each box contains five tests, since it takes time for people's bodies to develop enough protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 after being exposed.
      • In Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, the testing kits are available through participating pharmacies.
      • The province has more than half a million kits available to hand out. 
      • Rapid test kits were to also be made available at more schools and for vulnerable populations.
      • Elsewhere, they were to be available through Alberta Health Services sites.
      • As the rollout began, there were reports of long lineups and kits running out at some locations.
      • Two million more tests will be distributed in the coming days, the Alberta government told CBC News on Monday.
      • It said it expects one million additional tests — or, 200,000 kits — with confirmed shipping dates later in December.
      • The government said it hopes to receive 10 million tests a month by January.

    WATCH: How to perform the rapid antigen test:

    The latest on vaccines:

    • As of Dec. 20, Alberta placed second-last of all provinces and territories in terms of the percentage of people who had received at least one dose and the percentage of people who had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine:   
      • 72 per cent of the province's total population — or 76.5 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages five years and older) — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
      • 78.2 per cent of the province's total population, and 83 per cent of those ages five and older, have received at least one dose, according to CBC's vaccine tracker. 
      • That compares with 82 per cent of the total population Canada-wide that has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 76.3 per cent of the total population that has been fully vaccinated. Among those eligible across the country, 86.2 per cent have had one dose, and 80.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

    • Kenney announced on Dec. 15 that all Albertans 50 and older — as well as all health-care workers — were immediately eligible to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, provided that at least six months had passed since their second dose.
    • People who received two doses of AstraZeneca or one dose of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine can also get a booster of an mRNA vaccine, if they have not already received an mRNA dose for travel purposes, and provided it has been at least six months since their second dose.   
      • Eligible people can book appointments for third doses online with participating pharmacies or AHS by using the Alberta vaccine booking system.
      • Albertans can also call 811, participating pharmacies or participating physicians' offices.

    See which regions are being hit hardest:

    Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Dec. 20:

    • Calgary zone: 2,924.
    • Edmonton zone: 1,630.
    • Central zone: 492.
    • North zone: 380.
    • South zone: 212.
    • Unknown: 14.

    Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

    The latest updates on COVID-19 in Alberta in charts and graphs:

    With files from CBC Sports


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