Dr. Deena Hinshaw has become a face familiar to all Albertans, but today she gave her last scheduled update on COVID-19 cases within the province.
She has been at the helm of Alberta’s public health pandemic response for the past 18 months.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health announced a few major changes to the reporting of Alberta’s COVID numbers; the first being the end of the school outbreak map this Friday, July 2.
“Any outbreaks identified in summer schools will be investigated the same as all other outbreaks,” said Hinshaw.
Hinshaw also said the way vaccination rate percentages are calculated will change. Data from Statistics Canada dating back to July 2020 will now be used as the denominator.
This change in data usage will better match other provinces and territories, and make it easier for comparisons to be made throughout the country.
“This means that as of today, 72.7 per cent of eligible Albertans have now gotten at least one dose and 40.7 per cent are fully immunized,” said Hinshaw.
Vaccines remain priority
Despite this change in vaccine rates, Hinshaw continues to urge those who are eligible to get their shots.
There are roughly 4,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that are due to expire on July 1, something Hinshaw said is due to a recent drop-off in vaccinations.
“If you are booked to receive a first or second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, please reschedule your appointment to prior to July 1, so there’s few doses go to waste as possible,” said Hinshaw.
While this is the last official update Dr. Hinshaw is set to give, she cautions that COVID remains a potentially very serious risk, and that care must still be taken. COVID testing will remain available and a variety of health measures in some areas will stay in place as stage three progresses.
The final update
Alberta saw 61 new cases identified; a 1.6 per cent positivity rate out of 3,400 tests. There were 16 more variant cases identified as well.
There are 176 cases are in the ICU, and province-wide there are only 5 active cases in continuing care facilities, something Hinshaw praises.
Dr. Hinshaw credits the lower case rates to vaccines, saying that most of the positive cases since January have been in those with no vaccines.
“Vaccines are safe, and they drastically reduce our chances of becoming severely ill. The number one best thing we can do to protect ourselves and those around us and to keep Alberta open is to sign up, show up and follow up for both doses of vaccine,” said Dr. Hinshaw.