Dr. Hinshaw to provide COVID-19 update for Alberta on Tuesday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health will be providing an update on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations on Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is set to speak at 3:30 p.m. Her comments will be streamed live in this post.

Read more: 3rd COVID-19 wave bringing ‘the most ICU patients that we’ve ever seen in our health-care system:’ Alberta Health Services

On Monday, officials said the third wave of the pandemic was bringing in more ICU patients than the Alberta health-care system had ever seen.

Intensive care units (ICUs) are 40 per cent above their usual capacity during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney said, with 241 total patients currently in ICUs across the province.

“Normally, our health care system is set up to care for about 170 people in ICU,” Kenney said. “We are about over 40 per cent above our normal maximum capacity, and our pre-COVID record high for ICU admissions.”

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Click to play video: 'Kenney says Alberta ICU capacity over 40% normal capacity due to COVID-19' Kenney says Alberta ICU capacity over 40% normal capacity due to COVID-19

Kenney says Alberta ICU capacity over 40% normal capacity due to COVID-19

As of Monday, Alberta’s positivity rate was 10.3 per cent. There were 721 new COVID-19 cases identified in the last 24 hours.

There were 678 people in hospital, 181 of whom were in ICU. Five new COVID-19 deaths were reported.

As of May 16, Alberta had administered 2,217,446 doses of vaccine.

Read more: Interactive map breaks down COVID-19 vaccination rate by Alberta community

For the first time since early February, the reproductive values — or R value — of the virus are below one across the province.

As of May 10 to 16, the R value in Alberta was 0.84, while the Edmonton zone stood at 0.86, Calgary zone stood at 0.82 and the rest of Alberta was at 0.85.

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Compare this to the week of March 29 to April 5, when the R value for Alberta was at 1.17, Edmonton zone was at 1.18, Calgary zone was at 1.17 and the rest of Alberta was at 1.13.

Click to play video: 'Calls for new COVID-19 modeling project as variants in Alberta surge' Calls for new COVID-19 modeling project as variants in Alberta surge

Calls for new COVID-19 modeling project as variants in Alberta surge – Mar 24, 2021

Kirsten Fiest, an epidemiology professor at the University of Calgary, said she is cautiously optimistic but she has some words of caution.

“We’re still seeing high case counts in terms of positivity numbers and even the raw number of cases is still quite high and far above where we want it to be,” she said.

Fiest said R values of below one means the province is hopefully not seeing exponential spread anymore but the doesn’t mean people should let their guard down.

“It doesn’t mean COVID isn’t spreading throughout the community however. People still need to follow all the guidelines and be really aware of the potential for spread, even if they do have a single dose of vaccine or if they’re not vaccinated at all,” Fiest said.

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— With files from Julia Wong, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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