The rate of new COVID-19 cases in St. Albert increased this week, the province reported today.
The seven-day case rate per 100,000 in St. Albert was 155.2, according to provincial data from May 2 to May 9, compared to the 150.9 reported on May 4.
There were 108 new COVID cases reported in the last seven days, an increase from the 105 cases reported last week.
Two more St. Albert residents have died from COVID, bringing the total number of deaths to 76.
Sturgeon County saw a significant decrease in COVID cases this week. On May 11, the province reported that the case rate per 100,000 was 64.4, compared to the 121.7 reported on May 4.
The total number of new cases reported in Sturgeon County over the past seven days was 18, compared to the 34 new cases reported last week.
There were no new deaths in Sturgeon County; the total number of deaths in the county remains at 18.
In Morinville, the seven-day case rate per 100,000 increased to 157.7, compared to the 131.4 case rate reported on May 4.
The province reported 18 new cases in Morinville, compared to the 16 cases reported last week. One death was reported this week, bringing the total number of Morinville residents who have died from the virus to 17.
During the May 11 COVID update, chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 70 people died from COVID across Alberta between May 2 and May 9, an average of 10 deaths a day.
"These severe outcomes show us that this virus continues to pose a significant risk to many in our province," Hinshaw said.
Health Minister Jason Copping said the province has seen slower transmission rates and a decrease in hospitalizations over the past week. Copping also said wastewater testing has shown lower levels of the virus. "The system is under real strain," Copping said, despite the decrease in hospitalizations.
"The pressure is concentrated in the two big cities in line with our usual trends," Copping said.
Hinshaw reported that there were 1,225 hospitalizations across the province as of May 9, down from the 1,267 hospitalizations reported last week.
The number of people in ICU fell to 37, compared to the 46 people the province reported on May 4.
Hinshaw said the average positivity rate of PCR testing in the province was 20.7 during the period between May 2 and May 9.
Rise of influenza
Hinshaw also said there have been three deaths due to influenza so far this year.
"As influenza infections are now rising, simple actions like keeping our hands clean and staying home when feeling unwell continue to be important in protecting ourselves and others from many contagious illnesses," she said.
"The timing of the influenza season is later than normal," Hinshaw said. "Likely because the protective measures that were in place for COVID throughout the winter were extremely effective in stopping the spread of influenza."
During the update, Copping said the provincial government is "supporting [Alberta Health Services] in adding staff right across the system, including in key areas, and I'm looking forward to giving an update on this in the coming days.
"The system needs more capacity so that it's not strained so much at peak times, regardless of COVID," Copping said, adding that hospitals are seeing a "cyclical peak right now like some of the higher seasonal peaks we've seen in past years, and like we're seeing in other provinces."
He said, "Part of it is late-season influenza and other infections circulating more as people get back to normal.
"For those still at higher risk, we continue to look for any new tool that can help," Copping said.