In one a bunch of tweets Sent Friday afternoon, Dr Deena Hinshaw is seeking to reassure Albertans that the province is prepared to detect a mutation of the COVID-19 virus after the World Health Organization identified another variant of the virus. named Omicron.
“At this time, no cases of this variant have been detected in Canada,” Alberta’s chief medical officer wrote on Twitter. “I want to reassure Albertans that our gene sequencing program in Alberta can detect virus mutations, including this new strain.”
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Variant B.1.1.529 was first reported by South Africa on November 24, WHO said in a press release. The first known infection with the variant was from a specimen collected on 9 November.
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“The early evidence shows an increased number of mutations and increased transmissibility,” Hinshaw said, adding that it was a reminder of the importance of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Having a complete vaccine series historically has provided a high level of protection against severe outcomes even with the new variants of interest,” she said.
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Her comments came as the government confirmed an additional 356 cases of COVID-19. There are now 5,017 active cases in the province, up slightly from Thursday’s 4,969 active cases.
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There were 8,701 tests done in the last 24 hours and the positive rate was 4.18%.
Calgary continues to have the highest number of active COVID-19 cases with 1,874. There are 1,163 active cases in the Edmonton area, 852 in the North region, 716 in the Central region, and 409 in the South region.
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The province has three active cases that are not assigned to a specific region.
There are 455 Alberts in the hospital receiving care for COVID-19, with 90 of them in the ICU. This is down from 465 in the hospital on Thursday with 98 in the ICU.
The province also confirmed three more deaths from COVID-19. So far, 3,235 Albertans have died from the virus.
As of Friday’s update, 88.6 of the eligible Albertans age 12 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In the same group, 83.6 people were fully vaccinated.
Although children aged 5-11 became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, their numbers will not be counted until Saturday. The provincial reporting system will count doses administered at midnight the previous day.
Since the pandemic began, 334,203 Albertans have contracted COVID-19, while 325,951 have recovered.
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