Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, July 22

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Alberta reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest number in the month of July so far — and no new deaths from the disease Wednesday.

Alberta reports 81 new cases of COVID-19, no new deaths

There were 649 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta as of July 21. (Alberta Health Services)

The latest COVID-19 numbers

  • Alberta reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — the highest number in the month of July so far.
  • There have been no new deaths. A total of 2,318 Albertans have died. 
  • There are currently 95 people being treated in hospital for COVID-19 in Alberta. Of those, 27 are in intensive care units. While COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to decline, the province is experiencing an uptick in daily case counts, active cases and positivity rate. The 81 new cases were detected out of 6,479 tests Tuesday, with a positivity rate around 1.4 per cent.
  • There are now 649 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, an increase of 43 from the previous day.
  • The rate at which COVID-19 cases spread from one person to the next is once again rising in the province. As of last week, Alberta’s province-wide R-value was 0.84, with a confidence interval of 0.74 to 0.94. It was even higher in Edmonton, at 0.97 with a confidence interval pushing the city’s R-value potentially over one. 
  • Public health officials have reported the first cases of the C.37 coronavirus variant in Alberta — also known as the lambda variant. Both were travel-related.
  • 229,989 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • The U.S. land border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21, according to a renewal order issued by the American government Wednesday. In a notice pre-published in the U.S. Federal Register, the government says while vaccination rates have improved, opening the land border to non-essential travel still poses too high a risk.
  • The Canadian government announced Monday it plans to let fully vaccinated tourists visit Canada again soon. Ottawa says starting Aug. 9 at 12:01 a.m. ET fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
  • The government said it plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to enter Canada without quarantine on Sept. 7.
  • Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated will need to show documents proving they received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
  • Officials said travellers must electronically submit COVID-19-related information to the government’s ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan.
  • Alberta entered Stage 3 of its three-stage reopening plan on July 1, lifting all restrictions. The general indoor provincial mask mandate was lifted, but masking might still be required in limited settings or if certain communities continue it under local bylaws.
  • The Alberta government announced on July 13 that remaining restrictions in effect for continuing care facilities would be lifted in a two-stage process beginning as soon as operators were able to make any necessary changes.
  • The first phase was to end remaining visitor restrictions, limits to dining and recreation activities, and additional screening for residents who go off-site. Outbreak protocols, single-site staffing and other measures were to remain in place until further notice.

You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information:

(Note the latest daily count of new cases in the above chart will usually vary slightly from the net new cases Alberta Health announces each day. For more on why, click here.)

The latest on vaccines:

  • A poll released Wednesday by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that vaccine hesitancy is more common in Alberta than in the rest of the country. The survey found that one in five Albertans remain disinclined to get a shot — twice the national average. 
  • According to the poll, in B.C. the hesitancy rate is 12 per cent, and in Ontario and Quebec it’s just nine per cent.
  • “We absolutely need to get a better push on vaccine uptake,” said Craig Jenne, an associate professor at the University of Calgary in the department of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases.
  • Alberta reached a significant milestone in its COVID-19 immunization campaign on July 19 with more than five million doses of vaccines administered.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted on July 21 that the province’s latest data reaffirms that vaccination provides excellent protection against infection and variants.
  • Hinshaw said one dose proves to be 57 per cent effective against the B.1.617 variant, and increases to 85 per cent with two doses. Against the B.1.1.7 variant, two doses prove to be 91 per cent effective.
  • As of Wednesday, 5,100,111 doses of vaccines have been administered.
  • 51.6 per cent of all Albertans are fully vaccinated, while 63.7 per cent have received at least one dose (74.9 per cent of those eligible).
  • AHS is offering no-appointment, first and second dose COVID-19 immunization clinics with Pfizer vaccine at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and the Genesis Centre, from Wednesday, July 21, through Monday, July 26.
  • Clinics are also running in Calgary at the Somali Cultural Centre, 3940 29 Street N.E. on July 24, and at the  Crossroads Community Centre at 1803 14 Ave N.E. on July 29. 
  • North of Calgary, AHS will also operate a clinic in the Crossfield Community Centre on July 27.
  • Rapid flow COVID-19 immunization clinics at the Expo Centre in Edmonton and the Calgary Convention Centre will close by the end of July, Alberta Health Services said Wednesday.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Wednesday.

  • Calgary zone: 378.
  • Edmonton zone: 128.
  • Central zone: 46.
  • South zone: 34.
  • North zone: 63.
  • Unknown: 0.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

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