Shomporko Online News Desk: Cases of COVID-19 are surging in Alberta. Over 749 infections have been detected in the last two weeks, according to officials. Meanwhile, health officials in Alberta verified 71 additional cases of the virus related to the Calgary Stampede, however, the province’s previous top doctor believes this number is likely underestimated.
For the time being, experts believe the spike is to be expected and is no cause for concern.
Dr. Jia Hu, a public health expert advising the Stampede, said, “I certainly expected to see some spike in cases when we reopened.” “I believe the question is how big it will be.”
More than 5.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta, according to the most recently available provincial data.
As of Monday, the province confirmed more than 75 per cent of residents aged 12 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while just under 64 per cent of eligible Albertans had been fully vaccinated with two doses.
Alberta put an end to all public health measures on July 1, shortly after more than 70 per cent of eligible Albertans had been administered their first shot, reaching its threshold for Stage 3 of its reopening plan.
“We’re in a situation now where there’s no capacity limits, there’s indoor gatherings, there’s large events going on,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith, a professor at the University of Alberta’s Division of Infectious Diseases.
But should other provinces be walking back their reopening plans?
Probably not, although Smith said more “gradual” reopenings that include masks and avoiding crowded indoor spaces were advised.
She noted that Canada’s high vaccination record, which currently boasts almost 80 per cent of Canadians aged 12 and up with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 50 per cent of the total population fully vaccinated, is also working in the country’s favour.
“We do have a significant proportion of the population vaccinated,” she said. “That will reduce the risk of severe disease even if people do get infected and will presumably mitigate the impact on the health-care system.”
Dr. Eric Arts, Canada Research Chair in HIV Pathogenesis and Viral Control at Western University, said at the full impact of the Delta variant wasn’t yet known at the time of Alberta’s reopening.
In order to avoid another lockdown in an effort to curb the variant’s spread, he said Canada needs to do “as much surveillance as possible” on variables that contribute to our exposure to the variants, like people coming into the country or on wastewater.
British Columbia, too, is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the province recorded 150 cases, increasing the number of active cases in B.C. by 88 from Monday to 783 active cases.
But Dr. Brian Conway, medical director at the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said bumps in new cases “were predicted” as Canadians increase their level of contact and begin traveling again, but noted that “we should be in a position to identify cases, quickly, identify and interrupt transmission networks.”
As more Canadians become vaccinated, Conway believes the country will be well-positioned to avoid the fourth wave.
“Obviously, if a substantial number of new cases are introduced into the province, into the country, especially if there are many contagious varieties, this could result in some setbacks,” he said.
“We have a powerful, intelligent public health apparatus that is highly capable of intervening to cope with these types of situations.”
Source_ The Canadian Press