Hospitalizations up, 30 new COVID-19 deaths in Alberta, weekly update shows

Thirty more Albertans have died of COVID-19, bringing the province's death total to 4,104.

990 people in hospital compared to 964 last week 

Hospitalizations are up this week in Alberta, but ICU numbers are down slightly. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in Alberta, according to the province's latest weekly update.

There are 990 people in hospital, including 44 in ICU, compared to 964 with 47 ICU patients last week. 

Thirty more Albertans have died of COVID-19, bringing the province's death total to 4,104.

Over the last week, 5,549 COVID cases were reported, but this is only cases detected on PCR tests, which most Albertans cannot access.

During last week's COVID-19 update, Health Minister Jason Copping cautioned that transmission rates appeared to be on the rise; wastewater data was trending upwards in communities across the province including Edmonton and Calgary. 

Copping hesitated to say if the province is headed for a sixth wave but said the novel coronavirus was finding more opportunities to spread.

Lab testing has found that about 80 per cent of positive cases in Alberta are the Omicron BA.2 subvariant, making it the dominant strain of coronavirus in the province.

Province expanding 4th dose eligibility

Alberta is expanding its second booster dose eligibility, beginning April 12.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people over 65, Albertans age 70 and older, and all seniors in congregate care regardless of age can receive a fourth dose of vaccine.

According to a news release from the government, it's in line with a recent recommendation from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

The province is also bringing in another kind of vaccine: 10,000 doses of Novavax's Nuvaxovid.

"Nuvaxovid is a two-dose protein subunit vaccine that does not use mRNA technology and is approved for those 18 and older," the release reads, in part.

Appointments for that vaccine can only be booked by calling 811 because of limited supply.