Edmonton

1,089 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, 9 new deaths

AHS will now report the proportion of people admitted to hospitals because of COVID-19 as compared to those admitted because of other causes but still have the disease.

104 patients with COVID in intensive care

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, provided a COVID-19 update Tuesday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Alberta reported 1,089 people are in hospital with COVID-19 Tuesday, 104 of them in the intensive care unit.

The province also reported nine new deaths, bringing the total number to 3,412 since the start of the pandemic.

The peak of the fourth wave in late September saw more than 1,100 people in hospital, including 250 in ICU.

At a news conference Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta Health Services is changing the way it reports the number of people admitted to hospital and intensive care with COVID-19.

AHS will now report the proportion of people admitted to hospitals because of COVID-19 as compared to those who are admitted because of other causes but still have the disease, Hinshaw said.

"It is important to recognize that any COVID-positive admission has an impact on our acute-care capacity," she said.

"Someone may be admitted to hospital for another reason but a COVID infection can complicate their stay and their clinical outcome."

Since late last week, 51 per cent of new admissions to non-ICU hospital beds are due to COVID-19 infection. In the remainder of cases, the infection was not determined to be a cause of admission, she said.

For ICU beds, the percentage of new admissions due to COVID-19 was 74 per cent. The remaining 26 per cent were incidental infections or unclear, she said.

"This is a different trend than what we have seen with previous variants and it is due to the much higher transmissibility of Omicron," Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw also announced more than 80,000 Albertans will soon be able to receive fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine to bolster immunity.

Individuals aged 18 and older who have specific immunocompromising conditions can receive a booster five months after receiving their third dose, she said.

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