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COVID-19 situation in Alberta “grim”: Hinshaw

In the past week the province has confirmed more new cases than any other week to date, Hinshaw said.

Another 1,155 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed overnight in Alberta, a new daily high for COVID-19 diagnoses.

The province has run 17,000 tests in the past 24 hours with a positivity rate of 6.5 per cent. There are currently 10,655 active cases in the province.

There are currently 310 people in the hospital with 58 of them in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Deena Hinshaw said there were 11 new deaths over the past 24 hours.

In the past week, the province has confirmed more new cases than in any other week to date, Hinshaw said.

“Our current situation is grim,” Hinshaw said.

“I continue to be concerned in the rise in these tragic outcomes in COVID-19.”

Hinshaw said people of all ages are dying from the virus, including two people in their 30s this past week. Alberta’s top doctor said both patients had comorbidities, or other chronic conditions, but they were not life-threatening illnesses.

“Having a chronic medical condition is very common,” Hinshaw said.

One quarter of all adults over the age of 20 have a chronic medical condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes. Ten per cent of Albertans over the age of 20 have two chronic medical conditions while eight per cent have three or more.

Over half of men over the age of 50 and 70 per cent of men over 65 have high blood pressure.

“That should not be a death sentence,” Hinshaw said.

In Alberta, 87.3 per cent of all those who died from COVID-19 had hypertension, a total of 377 people. More than half had dementia and/or cardio-vascular diseases, 43 per cent had renal diseases and 41 per cent had diabetes. Nearly thirty-nine per cent of those who have passed away from COVID-19 had a respiratory disease, 23.6 per cent had cancer and 20.1 per cent had had a stroke, while 3.9 per cent had a liver disease and 3.1 per cent had an immuno-deficiency disease.

There have been 70 general ICU beds set aside for COVID-19 patients and currently 81 per cent of them are occupied. AHS manages the ICU beds and Hinshaw said they have the ability to create more beds, and there are other ICU beds in the province set aside to deal with other health conditions.

Overall, there are 173 general adult ICU beds that can be used for many patient types, but Hinshaw said creating more COVID-19 beds means stopping or delaying other services.