Chief medical office
Alberta recorded the highest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 1,105 new infections as intensive care admissions soar.
The active case count in the province now sits at 10,382. Of those, there are 284 Albertans in hospital, 61 of whom are in ICU.
CU admissions have more than tripled in the past month with just 15 admissions this time last October. Alberta currently has 70 ICU beds set aside for COVID-19 patients, meaning just 13 per cent remain available.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on Wednesday that Alberta Health Services (AHS) is in the process of expanding ICU capacity as COVID-19 cases swell in the province.
“As part of its surge capacity planning, AHS is also increasing ICU capacity across the province,” said Hinshaw during the mid-week COVID-19 update. “AHS has the ability to create temporary ICU space in spaces that would otherwise be used to care for patients who have other conditions requiring specialized care, such as cardiac units, post-operative recovery areas and other areas able to support ventilators and cardiac monitoring.”
It is unclear when these spaces will be available for use.
The previous record for daily COVID-19 cases in Alberta was 1,026 reported Saturday.
Eight additional Albertans have died from COVID-19, bringing the provincial death toll to 451.
Four Calgarians are among the latest deaths, all of whom are linked to current outbreak sites.
A female in her 80s from AgeCare SkyPointe, a male in his 80s from Sage Hill Retirement Residence, a male in his 80s from the Wing Kei Care Centre and a female in her 90s from Revera’s Bow-Crest Long Term Care Home are the latest Calgary zone fatalities.
Other reported deaths include a male in his 30s, male in his 70s and two males in their 70s linked to outbreak sites in the Edmonton zone.
Hinshaw said about 25 per cent of positive COVID-19 cases have used the Alberta Health Services (AHS) contract tracing portal — but it’s not enough.
AHS released the online tool earlier this month, which enables text message notifications to close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases. Infected individuals are asked to enter contact information of close contacts once they receive a positive test result. Contract tracers then send an automated message to those potentially exposed.
The positive case remains anonymous.
“Since AHS launched the contact tracing portal, about 25% of positive cases have used it. This is a good start, but we need to do more. If you test positive, please share your close contact info. AHS has made it easy and anonymous. Your info is not shared with your close contacts,” reminded Hinshaw on social media Thursday.
“If you receive a text that you are a close contact, please respond to AHS. This makes a huge difference in how quickly we notify contacts and prevent further spread.”
Hinshaw will publicly address the province on Friday with a COVID-19 update.
More to come…