Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 declined in the province over the past seven days, continuing an encouraging trend seen in recent weeks, said Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping.
“I am pleased to report that the total number of admitted patients in our hospitals with COVID dropped slightly again over the past week, and the number in ICU was flat, as it has been for several weeks,” Copping said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update press conference.
Between May 10 and May 16 the daily average number of people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital was 1,190, down from 1,225 the previous week.
The number of patients in ICU averaged 39 a day, up slightly from 37 last week.
Between May 10 and May 15 a total of 55 people died from COVID-19. By way of comparison, 70 patients died between May 3 and May 9.
The positivity rate on PCR tests over the past week was 19.9 per cent, down from 20.7 per cent the previous week.
“There are more signs over the past week that we are putting the BA.2 wave behind us,” Copping said. “This is the third week in a row that we have seen dropping positivity rates, which means there is less viral transmission in Alberta.
“Our wastewater surveillance program is showing the same thing. The levels in most centres are declining or fluctuating at levels well below the BA.1 peak.
“I hope to see a broad trend downward continuing on, especially as we get into warmer months. Overall, the data shows we are getting past the BA.2 wave.”
Pressure on emergency departments and EMS continues to be high due to high call volumes and delays in off-loading, he said.
Dr. Deanna Hinshaw, Alberta chief medical officer of health, also took part in Tuesday’s press conference.
She said despite the recent decline in PCR positivity rates, “Viruses like COVID-19 and influenza still do pose a serious risk to many people which is why it is important to stay up to date on vaccinations and get all doses that you are eligible for.
“We must remember that COVID will remain with us and we should expect it to return, especially when we get the colder months in the fall and the start of season when we traditionally see a rise in respiratory viruses.”