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Province reports another COVID death in St. Albert; cases decline

The June 29 update on COVID-19 numbers in the province shows a decline in cases in St. Albert and around the province. The Auditor General of Alberta also released a report on the need for the government to improve reporting results for COVID-19 programs.
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COVID cases dropped in St. Albert last week. The province reported 12 new COVID-19 cases from June 21-27. The province reported 15 cases on June 22, 2022.

One more St. Albertan has died from COVID-19, and cases of the virus declined in the city, according to the province.

The seven-day case rate (per 100,000) from June 21-27 was 17.2, compared to 21.6 the week prior, the province reported on June 29.

St. Albert had 12 COVID cases from June 21-27. The province reported 15 cases on June 22.

The number of St. Albertans who have died from COVID, to date, is 85. 

Sturgeon County COVID cases have dropped. The seven-day case rate (per 100,000) from June 21-27 was 10.7, compared to 25.1— the seven-day case rate the week prior.

There were three new COVID cases in the county, compared to the seven cases reported the week prior. 

There were no new COVID deaths in the county. The number of people who have died from the virus remained at 18. 

Morinville was COVID free last week as reported by the province on June 29. The town saw zero cases of the virus from June 21-27.

The number of people who have died from COVID in Morinville remained at 16.

In a press statement issued June 29, Health Minister Jason Copping the Omicron wave is continuing 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,” he said.

The average PCR test positivity rate from June 14-20 fell to 11.74 per cent from 12.32 per cent the week prior. 

The number of people hospitalized with COVID has dropped to 589, as reported by the province on June 29. There were 661 people hospitalized with the virus in Alberta from June 21-27.

Copping said total hospitalizations are the lowest they have been since early January, “and 13 in intensive care is the lowest number since October 2020,” he said.

The number of people in ICU with COVID also dropped. Thirteen people were admitted to the ICU from June 21-27, down from 17 the week prior. 

An additional 17 Albertans died from COVID from June 21-27. The total number of Albertans who have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic was 4,621, as reported on June 29.

Need for improved accountability in COVID-19 programs

The Auditor General of Alberta released a report on the need for the province to improve reporting on COVID-19 programs.

The Fiscal 2021 Annual Reporting of COVID-19 Initiatives Report, which was released on June 29, stated the province had spent more than $4 billion responding to COVID-19.

 “Without effective COVID-19 reporting, readers cannot tell what the government achieved in spending $4 billion on programs to help Albertans during the pandemic,” said Auditor General Doug Wylie.

The auditor general analyzed 20 ministry annual reports from 2020-21 and found they “did not always provide a clear picture of what the COVID-19 funding achieved,” the report stated.

The annual reports did not always include spending and results, they were not comparable across ministries, and they did not always cross-reference information.

As an example, the report states the province received $1.3 billion in federal funding through the Safe Restart Agreement. The funding was to prepare for potential future waves of the virus and support safe reopening of economies across Canada.

“We could not trace funds through to the recipient ministry results analysis sections to see who spent the money and what was achieved,” the report said.

The health ministry would not disclose how many vaccines were received from the federal government.

The auditor general said they could not identify how much the health ministry spent on PPE, contact tracing, and rapid testing.

“Nor did [the health ministry] describe what it achieved by spending $260 million to protect staff and residents in long-term care, designated supportive living facilities, and seniors’ lodges,” the report said.

Other areas analyzed by the auditor general include the Municipal Operating Support Transfer program, transportation-related programs, safe return to class, child-care relief programs, education capital maintenance and renewal, and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program.

Treasury board and finance did not give ministries a standard reporting format for the pandemic, which made it difficult to compare program spending, objectives, and results across ministries. The information was also not cross-referenced between ministries, the report continued.

The auditor general did note good reporting practices of the site rehabilitation program, the small and medium enterprise relaunch grant program, from the ministry of community and social services, and from seniors and housing and labour and immigration.

The report can be found at:

https://www.oag.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/oag-tbf-fiscal-2021-reporting-covid-initiatives-june2022.pdf


About the Author: Jessica Nelson

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