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  • Update 167: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (Jan. 5, 4:45 p.m.)

    Alberta’s COVID-19 immunization program is well underway. Albertans should continue to protect others by continuing to follow restrictions and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

    Latest updates

    • Over the last 24 hours, 843 new cases were identified.
    • There are 919 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 140 in intensive care.
    • There are 13,411 active cases in the province.
    • To date, 91,799 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
    • In the last 24 hours, there were 26 additional COVID-related deaths reported: three on Dec. 27, three on Dec. 28, two on Dec. 29, two on Dec. 30, one on Dec. 31, one on Jan. 1, two on Jan. 2, four on Jan. 3, and eight on Jan. 4.
    • The testing positivity rate was 8.2 per cent.
    • To date, there was an increase of 10,301 tests (2,857,374 total) for a total of 1,671,264 people tested.
    • All zones across the province have cases:
      • Calgary Zone: 4,545 active cases and 35,757 recovered
      • South Zone: 257 active cases and 4,799 recovered
      • Edmonton Zone: 5,794 active cases and 39,241 recovered
      • North Zone: 1,311 active cases and 6,201 recovered
      • Central Zone: 1,431 active cases and 5,663 recovered
      • 73 active cases and 138 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
      • Additional information, including case totals, is online.
    • R values from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 (confidence interval):
      • Alberta provincewide: 0.99 (0.97-1.01)
      • Edmonton Zone: 0.92 (0.89-0.95)
      • Calgary Zone: 1.02 (0.99-1.06)
      • Rest of Alberta: 1.06 (1.01-1.10)
    • There are currently 1,236 active and 6,075 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
    • To date, 784 of the 1,168 reported deaths (67 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.

    COVID-19 immunization program

    • Vaccines are being administered across the province. As of Jan. 4, 26,269 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta.
    • Alberta’s phased approach to vaccination focuses first on priority health-care workers and those who are at highest risk of severe outcomes. Eligibility will continue to expand as more vaccine arrives in the province and more doses are administered to those most at risk.

    COVID Care Teams outreach

    • A comprehensive outreach program is reaching communities with high levels of COVID-19 spread in Edmonton and Calgary.
    • Upon referral by Alberta Health Services (AHS), people in these areas who test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for a free-of-charge hotel room stay of 14 days, complete with culturally appropriate food and temporary financial aid in the amount of $625, once they have completed their self-isolation.
    • In December, more than 290 Albertans accessed hotel rooms in order to isolate safely.

    Provincewide restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19

    • In response to increasing case numbers, enhanced public measures prohibiting social gatherings, requiring masking and restricting businesses and services continue to be in effect.
    • All indoor and outdoor social gatherings – public and private – are still prohibited.
    • All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place.

    Testing for travellers from the U.K. and South Africa

    • All travellers who have arrived from the United Kingdom and South Africa since Dec. 7 should immediately get a COVID-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not.
    • Travellers will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services to book a test.
    • Also, travellers from the United Kingdom or South Africa who are participating in the border pilot must immediately quarantine, whether they’ve had a negative test or not. All returning travellers currently in quarantine must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

    Rapid testing

    • Rapid point-of-care testing has begun at long-term care and designated supportive living facilities in the Edmonton Zone using dedicated mobile testing centres.
    • Remote and rural hospitals in Alberta will receive rapid tests in late December and early January.
    • Rapid testing has already been expanded to homeless shelters and centres in Calgary and Edmonton.

    Enforcement of public health measures

    • The government has granted certain Alberta peace officers and community peace officers temporary authority to enforce public health orders.
    • Not following mandatory restrictions will result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.

    Albertans downloading tracer app

    • All Albertans are encouraged to download the secure ABTraceTogether app, which is integrated with provincial contact tracing. The federal app is not a contact tracing app.
    • Secure contact tracing is an effective tool to stop the spread by notifying people who were exposed to a confirmed case so they can isolate and be tested.
    • As of Jan. 5, 295,575 Albertans were using the ABTraceTogether app, 66 per cent on iOS and 34 per cent on Android. On average, 22 new users were registering every hour.
    • Secure contact tracing is a cornerstone of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy.

    MyHealth Records quick access

    • Parents and guardians can access the COVID-19 test results for children under the age of 18 through MyHealth Records (MHR) as soon as they are ready.
    • As of Jan. 4, 494,545 Albertans have MHR accounts.

    Influenza immunization

    • All Albertans, especially seniors and those at risk, are encouraged to get immunized against influenza.
    • More than 1,450,368 Albertans have received their flu shot.

    Addiction and mental health supports

    • Confidential supports are available. The Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Resources are also available online.
    • The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.
    • Online resources provide advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.

    Family violence prevention

    • A 24-hour Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818 provides anonymous help in more than 170 languages.
    • Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • People fleeing family violence can call local police or the nearest RCMP detachment to apply for an Emergency Protection Order, or follow the steps in the Emergency Protection Orders Telephone Applications (COVID-19).
    • Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are at alberta.ca/COVID19.

    Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.

    Quick facts

    • Legally, all Albertans must physically distance and isolate when sick or with symptoms.
    • Good hygiene is your best protection: wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into an elbow or sleeve, and dispose of tissues appropriately.
    • Please share acts of kindness during this difficult time at #AlbertaCares.
    • Alberta Connects Contact Centre (310-4455) is open Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.