Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday December 28th


Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, will be giving a COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, while critics warn that future numbers of active cases may be dramatically under-reported due to changes in testing protocols by the government.

Critics warn that the number of active cases in Alberta may be dramatically underreported due to test changes

A girl prepares for her first COVID-19 shot. While data from Ontario suggest that protection from Omicron with two doses of vaccine is poor, its researchers say data from the UK have shown that a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the risk of infection by up to five times. (Alberta Health Services)

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the provincial chief medical officer of health, is expected to be her COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. CBC Edmonton and CBC Calgary will broadcast it live. Hinshaw also said last week that there would be another update by Thursday’s press conference.
  • Daily updates on the Government pandemic tracking dashboard was slowed down over the holidays. New data, including daily numbers, should be provided on Wednesday and January 4th (so there will be data gaps in the charts in this story).
  • Critics warn against it future numbers of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta could be drastically under-reported, after the government changed its testing protocols last week in response to an expected spate of cases linked to the more highly contagious Omicron variant.
    • Last Thursday, the province changed the testing guidelines to recommend the home Rapid antigen test kits for people with symptoms instead of laboratory PCR testing, except for some priority groups.
    • People who get one positive result of the rapid test kit are urged to consider a COVID-19 confirmation, isolate and notify their close contacts, but the government is not tracking these findings.
    • The government also told people that when they feel symptomatic, should assume you have COVID-19, isolate yourself, and notify your close contacts. The government is not following these results either.
    • The government acknowledged the change would affect the accuracy of the case counts, but said it plans to use Wastewater monitoring and track people with risk factors.
    • Many doctors urge people to Rapid antigen test kits to wiping their throats as well as their noses to improve their chances of catching the virus early.
  • Last Friday, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) made available updated intensive care unit numbers.
    • In Alberta, 229 general adult ICU beds are open, including 56 additional beds. There are 167 patients in the intensive care unit.
    • The province’s intensive care unit capacity – including surge beds – is 73 percent. Without the additional surge rooms, the province’s intensive care unit capacity would be 97 percent.
  • The Alberta government reported in their last full update last Thursday:
    • 1.625 new cases.
    • 8,359 total active cases.
    • No new deaths. There have been 3,299 COVID deaths in Alberta since the pandemic began.
    • 335,047 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.

  • When it comes to them Omicron questionable variant:
    • Last Thursday, the total number of Omicron cases in Alberta was included 2,637, and it was considered the dominant variety in the province.
    • Hinshaw said Omicron cases doubled every two or three days at this point.
    • More than half of the variant cases at this point in time – 1,583 – were in the Calgary Zone.

The latest on restrictions, breakouts, and more:

  • Protection from two doses of COVID-19 vaccines has fallen dramatically since the highly contagious variant of Omicron spread across Ontario, according to data released Monday by the provincial Science Council.
    • The data shows that two doses of vaccine still provide more than 90 percent protection against serious consequences such as hospitalization and ICU admission – evidence that the vaccines successfully achieved the primary goal, said Dr. Peter Jüni, scientific director of the group. However, he said the situation could change in the coming weeks, as so far most of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been infected with the previously dominant Delta variant.
    • However, the data from Ontario shows two doses are no longer as effective to prevent people from contracting COVID-19. According to the data, vaccination protection in people who received two doses has dropped to 14.9 percent – from almost 90 percent a month ago.
    • Jüni urged everyone to get a booster as soon as possible, as data from the UK has shown a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the risk of infection by up to five times.
  • 38 employees tested positive for COVID-19 Drumheller Institute, according to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).
    • Some of the people who tested positive attended a Christmas party earlier this month, but the CSC refused to confirm how many.
    • No inmates tested positive for COVID-19 during the outbreak, but in-person visits to inmates were suspended indefinitely.
  • New restrictions on public health in Alberta to slow the spread of the COVID-19 variant of Omicron went into effect last Friday. They include:
    • Venues in the program for the relief from restrictions that Space for more than 1,000 people should be used to 50 percent. For venues with a capacity of 500 to 1,000 people, 500 people is the limit. No food or drinks may be consumed in these places.
    • Premier Jason Kenney said on December 21 that the changes will apply to NHL games, as well as the World Junior Tournament, which is supposed to start on Boxing Day.
    • Restaurants, pubs and bars are there to have a maximum table capacity of 10 people. Mixing between tables and interactive activities such as dancing or billiards are not permitted.
    • You must stop drinking alcohol at 11:00 PM and close at 12:30 PM

CLOCK | What is the Omicron variant? Infectious disease expert Craig Jenne simplifies the variant:

What is the Omicron variant?

Infectious disease expert Craig Jenne simplifies what the variant is and what it means for the latest round in our fight against COVID. 5:00

  • Hinshaw urged people to reduce their gatherings, but approved gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.
    • Your warning came about a week after Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s easing Restrictions on private social gatherings on December 15th, Abolition of the rule that only people from two households can meet indoors. He said social gatherings could consist of people from any household but should not exceed 10 Persons (excluding persons under 18 years of age).
    • He also dropped the requirement that everyone be indoors at social gatherings fully vaccinated.
  • Alberta’s health system was repeatedly overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In anticipation of the expected demand from the increase in the number of Omicron variants, the Province of Alberta Health Services advised that unvaccinated doctors and employees wishing to return to work should be able to do so Participation in a temporary test program.
    • This affects around 1,400 full-time and part-time workers who are not fully vaccinated and who have previously been given unpaid leave. The examination is carried out at the expense of the staff.
  • The ruling United Conservative Party was charged with showing hypocrisy when it launched on Jan.
  • The Omicron variant has prompted several post-secondary institutions across the province to back to online learning for the first weeks of the winter semester.
    • These include the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, MacEwan University, the University of Lethbridge, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), and Mount Royal University.
  • Alberta had one Limitations of the exemption program, a voluntary vaccination record in place since September 20 after a catastrophic fourth wave of COVID-19. A full list of Limitations and Exceptions is available on the government website.
  • As of December 17th, the Alberta government free take-away-Heim Covid-19 rapid antigen test Kits Available for home use on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.
  • There is a limit of one box per person within 14 days and each box contains five tests as it takes time for people’s bodies to develop enough protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 after exposure.

WATCH: How to perform the rapid antigen test:

How to use a takeaway COVID-19 test kit

With the province releasing COVID-19 home rapid test kits, Edmonton-based pharmacist Shivali Sharma is showing Pippa Reed from CBC how to use one properly. 1:51

The latest on vaccines:

  • Last Friday, Alberta ranked last among all provinces and territories for the percentage of eligible people (ages five and older) who had the Covid19 vaccination, according to Vaccine tracker from CBC.
    • 72.2 percent of the total population of the province – or 76.6 percent of eligible Albertans (aged five and over) – have received two cans a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • 78.4 percent of the total population of the province and 83.3 percent of those aged five and over have at least a dose.
    • That is comparable to 82.4 percent the total population of Canada who received at least one dose of vaccine, and 76.5 percent of the total population fully vaccinated. Among the beneficiaries across the country, 86.7 percent have received a dose and 80.5 percent are fully vaccinated.

  • As of December 21, the Alberta government announced that anyone aged 18 or over who received their second COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago C.I could now book a third dose.
  • Pfizer BioNTech vaccine booster is offered to Albertans aged 18-29 as younger Albertans, especially men from Moderna, have a slightly increased risk of myocarditis – although the government emphasizes that people are much more likely to develop myocarditis from COVID-19 than from Suffer vaccine.

See which regions are hardest hit:

Here is the one latest detailed regional breakdown of the active cases, as the province reported last Thursday (December 23):

  • Calgary Zone: 4,665.
  • Edmonton Zone: 2,539.
  • Middle zone: 460
  • North zone: 424.
  • South zone: 241.
  • Unknown: 30th

Here are the latest COVID-19 stories from Alberta:

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

|Corrections and clarifications

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