Alberta reports 875 new COVID-19 cases, another 23 deaths

Including numbers from Wednesday's update, 218 people in Alberta have died from COVID-19 already this month.

Provincial data shows an average of 20 deaths a day between Jan. 1 and Jan. 10

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Alberta reported 875 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and another 23 deaths from the disease.

Five of the deaths happened in December, and the others happened on:

  • Jan. 9, two deaths
  • Jan. 11, seven deaths
  • Jan. 12, nine deaths

Across the province, 820 patients were being treated in hospitals for the illness, including 137 in ICU beds.

Laboratories conducted almost 16,000 tests over the past 24 hours, and the positivity rate was about 5.3 per cent.

Including numbers from Wednesday's update, 218 people in Alberta have died from COVID-19 already this month.

Here's a breakdown of deaths reported to Alberta Health so far this month:

  • Jan. 1, 18 deaths.
  • Jan. 2, 22 deaths.
  • Jan. 3, 20 deaths.
  • Jan. 4, 22 deaths.
  • Jan. 5, 21 deaths.
  • Jan. 6, 23 deaths.
  • Jan. 7, 19 deaths.
  • Jan. 8, 15 deaths.
  • Jan. 9, 21 deaths.
  • Jan. 10, 21 deaths.
  • Jan. 11, 11 deaths (four were reported the day before).
  • Jan. 12, nine deaths (total is likely incomplete).

The record number of deaths on a single day was 27, which happened on Dec. 27.

COVID-19 deaths are reported when Alberta Health confirms them, and there can delays for several days before all the information is available.

The death toll since the pandemic began in March has now reached 1,368. The youngest person to die was 23, the oldest 107.

Here's an age breakdown:

  • 0-19 years, no deaths.
  • 20-29 years, five deaths.
  • 30-39 years, seven deaths.
  • 40-49 years, 14 deaths.
  • 50-59 years, 37 deaths.
  • 60-69 years, 139 deaths.
  • 70-79 years, 279 deaths.
  • 80+ years, 887 deaths.

Vaccine supply a challenge

Vaccine supply has been a challenge this week for Alberta Health Services, spokesperson Kerry Williamson said Wednesday in a statement.

In the Calgary zone, about 1,500 available appointments for health-care workers had to be "closed" so vaccine could be used to immunize residents in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, he said.

The Central zone ran out of vaccine over the weekend, Williamson said, and several North zone sites ran out over the past few days, while the South zone had to reduce the number of available appointments.

AHS has the capacity to deliver 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week, Williamson said. 

While that capacity would allow AHS to complete all immunizations at long-term care and designated supportive living facilities by the end of this week, Williamson said, there may not be enough supply to achieve that.

Due to a shortage of the Moderna vaccine this week, AHS could not complete planned immunizations for about 2,000 residents in seniors living centres in the South, Central and Edmonton zones, Williamson said.

"We will be immunizing additional residents as soon as possible after product arrives on Friday," he said.

"If the federal government is able to meet their delivery targets, a significant number of the Moderna doses slated to arrive on Friday will be used as second doses for Alberta's long-term care and designated supportive living residents."

AHS constantly monitoring vaccine supply

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said two shipments were expected this week. One has arrived and the other is likely will arrive later this week, she said at a news conference Wednesday.

"My understanding is that the impact of that has been in taking appointments that previously were open and available and closing them down," she said. "I think the impact has mostly been in closing down possible appointments so people can't book into them."

Having to close appointments or move supply means it can take longer for eligible people to receive vaccines, Hinshaw said.

"Alberta Health Services is doing a tremendous job at making sure that they are constantly monitoring their supply, their forecasting for appointments, and trying to reduce any inconvenience in people having to be rescheduled."

Hinshaw said vaccine shortages will likely be a common occurrence in coming weeks as the province works to immunize Albertans as quickly as possible.


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