Unless something newsworthy happens, this will be the last COVID-19 report for a while. The Leader will continue to monitor numbers and announcements.
Starting on March 23, the Alberta government is releasing COVID-19 numbers weekly, instead of week days. This was announced on March 16th.
The first report is based on data from Friday, March 18 to Monday, March 21. Going forward, the report will be on information from Tuesday to Monday.
At the March 16 announcement, Jason Copping, Minister of Health, said at this stage in the pandemic trends are more important than day-to-day data.
In both the March 16 and 23rd update, the trend in Alberta was downward.
However, as of March 21 (announced on March 23), around 60 per cent of positive cases had the BA.2 variant of COVID, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, medical officer of health. This made it the main variant. It spreads faster than BA.1, but does not appear to be more severe.
Based on what happened in the fifth wave, says Hinshaw, “we should expect to see transmission trending upwards in the coming weeks, meaning that those at risk of severe outcomes should revisit their precautionary measures, and those who have not yet gotten their booster dose should do so as soon as possible.”
From March 18 to 21, a person from the M.D. of Opportunity and three other people from the AHS North Zone died from COVID-19. These were a woman in her 50s, a man and a woman in their 70s, and a man 80 or older. For COVID-19 numbers Opportunity includes Bigstone and other nearby First Nations.
Along with the frequency, the style of reporting on alberta.ca has changed. It reports new cases (in this case over four days from March 18 to 21), total deaths, total cases, and the highest case rate of the four days.
COVID cases from March 18 to 21, reported on March 23:
- M.D. of Lesser Slave River – four new cases.
- Big Lakes County – 10 new and two outbreaks (neither new).
- Westlock County – 12 new.
- M.D. of Opportunity – four new and one died.
- Woodlands County – zero new.
- Whitecourt – four new.
- Athabasca County – four new.
- Northern Sunrise County – two new.
The number of cases may be higher, as COVID numbers on alberta.ca only include PCR tests, and not everyone is eligible for PCR tests.