By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
Alberta’s premier says there are continued encouraging trends with COVID-19, and the province has passed the peak of the Omicron wave.
Jason Kenney added there has been continuing decline in the number of total active cases, a gradual decline in the positivity rate for positive PCR tests and a gradual decline in the number of patients hospitalized in ICU with COVID-19.
“While we did reach the peak of Omicron infections approximately two weeks ago, and it appears we reached the peak of ICU pressures two weeks ago, we are not out of the woods yet.”
Although these statements are encouraging, it should be noted that, on Jan. 10, the province limited the number of people who can get a PCR test from AHS for COVID-19 to only those in high-risk settings. This likely means the number of people who have contracted COVID since then would be higher than what is being reported by the province.
Kenney says there remains significant pressure in major urban hospitals and emergency wards and high numbers of frontline workers who have had to stay home and are absent because of self-isolation due to COVID infection. To add to that, many frontline workers are exhausted after the past two years.
Kenney asked Albertans to continue to be mindful of the pressure on the healthcare system.
Once there is a sustained reduction of COVID pressure on the hospitals, he is “looking toward being able to make decisions about moving toward relaxations of public health measures at that time,” including the elimination of the Restrictions Exemption Program.
Kenney believes that will happen later this month, if everything goes according to plan.
Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said it is critical to remember that 50 per cent of all cases happen in the second half of waves, and transmission is still very high.
For further information on restrictions in Alberta, you can visit their website at alberta.ca.