2 deaths at Calgary's Foothills hospital linked to delta variant
1 of the deaths involved a patient who had been fully immunized, according to AHS
Two deaths at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary have been linked to the delta variant, Alberta Health Services says.
Kerry Williamson, a spokesperson with AHS, said that of those two deaths, one had been fully immunized, while the other had not received either a first or second dose of the vaccine.
AHS would not confirm whether the deaths would be the first and second deaths recorded in Alberta attributable to the delta variant, otherwise known as B.1.617.2.
The variant has rocked the United Kingdom in recent weeks, prompting some to call for a delayed reopening in the country.
Tom McMillan, a spokesperson with Alberta Health, said that while the province is not breaking down cases and deaths by specific strains of variants of concern, there have been 245 deaths linked to variants to date.
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At the Foothills hospital, 21 patients on two units — as well as nine health-care workers — have tested positive for COVID-19 as of June 16.
Last week, workers at the hospital said they were concerned as some with both doses of the vaccine were still getting affected with the variant.
At the time, AHS said it is still possible to contract COVID-19 even after immunization, though people are less likely to experience severe illness or require hospitalization with either one or two doses.
"For example, in the case of these two outbreaks, only one of the 22 people have required ICU care," Williamson said in an email sent on Friday.
"The majority of both patients and health-care workers have experienced mild symptoms."
Williamson said vaccines are 33 per cent effective against symptomatic cases of the delta variant after the first dose and rise to more than 80 per cent effective after the second dose.
"[Those rates are] why it's so important to get immunized, with both first and second doses," Williamson said.
Studies out of the U.K. show that AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines are estimated to be 92 to 96 per cent effective against hospitalization after two doses.
Dr. André Corriveau, Alberta's deputy chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday that as overall cases decrease it's likely the more transmissible delta variant will become the predominant strain in the province.
Alberta reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and four more deaths.