Alberta reported 442 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and another 12 deaths.
There are 836 people being treated in Alberta hospitals with the virus, including 183 in intensive care. The province has 9,267 active cases.
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the evidence is clear that getting vaccinated saves lives. Unvaccinated adults 80 years or older are 12 times more likely to die from the virus than those fully vaccinated.
In the 70 to 79-year-old age category, the results are even more compelling. Unvaccinated people in that age group are 52 times more likely to die from COVID than those who are fully vaccinated.
Since the restrictions exemption program was launched in mid-September the vaccination rate has picked up with more than 505,000 people getting their first or second shot in the last six weeks.
Hinshaw urged Albertans to get both doses to maximize their protection. One dose offers 57 per cent protection against the Delta variant while two doses bumps protection up to 89 per cent.
“It’s clear we will not be able to eliminate COVID-19 either in Alberta or around the world so we will need to learn to live with COVID-19.
“Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is almost certain to be exposed to COVID-19 at some point in the future, if they haven’t already been.”
How and if a fifth wave emerges will depend on a number of factors, including how many people get vaccinated and what new variants emerge.
The number of COVID patients in ICU now is about the same as the number during the peak of the third wave, she said.
While some provinces are talking about what targets need to be hit to left health restrictions, Hinshaw did not want to predict any timeline.
It will depend on the burden on the health care system, which does not have the capacity to handle further acute care surges. Also, other variants may appear that change the math for the health system.
B.C. has announced it will offer booster shots to anyone who wants one six to eight months after their last shot.
Hinshaw said Alberta continues to offer third doses to high-risk groups. However, as far as expanding that to the general population, the province is waiting to see what recommendations — expected in the next few weeks — come from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations as well as the province’s own advisory committee.
Alberta Health Services’ central zone has 1,836 active cases, with 166 in hospital and 20 in ICU.
The City of Red Deer has 370 active cases, down from 388 on Monday. There were two new deaths reported in Red Deer over the weekend, bringing the total to 75 in the city. No new deaths were reported for the city on Tuesday.
Red Deer County has 131 active cases, Clearwater County has 133, Lacombe County has 100, the City of Lacombe has 82, Mountain View County has 58, Stettler County has 41, Sylvan Lake has 35 and Olds has 26.
Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 267 active cases, while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 54 and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and Partial Lacombe County, has 49.
The City of Camrose has 83, Camrose County has 29, Kneehill County has 47 and Drumheller has 33.