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Provincial Covid-19 numbers point to large increase in hospitalizations

Alberta’s Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange provided an update for the province’s respiratory viral season on Sept. 18, including updated numbers for Covid-19 which have not been provided by the province for weeks.

The minster’s update, which extended to Sept. 8, indicated that the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 infections had risen dramatically from July 24, the last date that data had been made available.

On Sept. 8, 417 patients were in hospital, up from 242 previously—an almost 73 per cent increase.

“Approximately 20 per cent of patients were admitted with COVID-19 as the primary or significant contributing cause for admission to hospital,” said LaGrange.

She said that from Aug. 28 to Sept. 18, there had been 559 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, and that 92 people had been hospitalized during that period.

Five individuals died from Covid-19 during that same week.

Minister LaGrange promised that an updated dashboard would be made available soon for Albertans for the start of the respiratory virus season in the province.

“We are launching a refreshed reporting dashboard that will align reporting on respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, RSV and influenza. This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” Minister LaGrange said.

“This change will bring Alberta’s COVID-19 reporting schedule into line with other jurisdictions such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.”

In her update, Minister LaGrange said that there has been 28 lab-confirmed cases of Influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of RSV since Aug. 28.

Expect illnesses to rise amongst school aged children

With the start of the respiratory virus season, Minister LaGrange said that parents already know to expect more illnesses amongst their school aged children.

“As we say goodbye to summer and head into fall, parents know the chances of their children getting sick increase because we tend to spend more time indoors in the cooler months,” she said.

“It is our collective responsibility to create a safer, healthier environment for everyone – especially during the fall season when we see increases in respiratory viruses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.”

As of Sept. 15, the Calgary Board of Education reported that they had a 4.3 per cent absence rate in their schools due to illnesses, totalling 5,804 students.

Among the items that Minister LaGrange suggested to address the spread of disease were to follow best hygiene practices, including washing hands and staying home while sick.

“It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask,” she said.

She said that information on vaccines for Influenza and Covid-19 would be coming shortly from the province.