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COVID numbers continue to decline

Intensive care admissions due to COVID-19 have reached their lowest levels since Oct. 2020, but the overall pressure on the health system continues, Minister of Health Jason Copping said Wednesday.
MVT Health Minister Jason Copping May 17, 2022
Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping during a May 17 press conference. Copping. released a statement June 29 updating the status of COVID cases in Alberta hospitals. YouTube screenshot

Intensive care admissions due to COVID-19 have reached their lowest levels since Oct. 2020 as the Omicron wave continues to decline in the province, Minister of Health Jason Copping said Wednesday.

“The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital continues to drop. The latest total of 589 is the lowest since early January, and 13 in intensive care is the lowest number since October 2020,” Copping said in a press release.

“The Omicron wave continues to recede. Levels of the virus in wastewater are trending down across the province, including in Edmonton and Calgary, and are at or near the levels before Omicron in many centres.”

Despite the decline in admissions and overall cases, pressure on the health system continues, he says.

“Our hospitals and other services remain under strain, especially in Edmonton and Calgary, for the same reasons as in other provinces: a wave of patients in recent months, plus the impact of the past two years on the health workforce,” he said.

“The result is that EMS and emergency departments are struggling to keep up even though spending is at record levels and staff are being added across the system, including 800 more staff in emergency departments than before the pandemic.”

Alberta Health is continuing to add capacity as the current wave of non-COVID respiratory viruses continues in the province, he said.

“Alberta Health Services has now opened 26 of the 50 new ICU beds funded in budget 2022 and nine new ambulances will be on the streets in Edmonton and Calgary by the end of this month,” he said.

“It’s been a tough spring for our health system in Alberta and across Canada. We know the pandemic is not over. We have to expect cases to increase again, most likely in the fall, and we’re preparing for that.”

Officials will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants,” he said.