Further actions to protect health system from COVID-19 in Alberta will Start on Saturday September 4. The Government of Alberta says due to increasing COVID-19 transmission and rising hospital admissions, overwhelmingly amongst unvaccinated Albertans, temporary measures are needed to reduce transmission and prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed.
Currently, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospital are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care.
“Vaccines are safe, effective, and a game-changer,” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health said. “This is why the current wave is different than what we’ve experienced before. While we do not need to return to the same widespread and dramatic measures we had in place earlier in the pandemic, unvaccinated Albertans in particular are still at risk and are placing a heavy load on our health-care system. This is why we are taking measured steps and introducing a new incentive program to encourage more Albertans to get the jab.”
The government says based on information available in mid-August, an updated projection of estimated COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to the end of September was developed. Current actual data is trending toward the high end of the projections, therefore numbers may exceed the projections. Peaks in the model are only estimates, and actual peaks may be higher and later than anticipated if current growth trends continue.
This provincial modelling shows intensive care unit patients could possibly peak at around 180 in the medium scenario, although if accelerating trends continue, numbers could reach or exceed the currently projected high scenario at 290.
Other hospitalizations (non-ICU) are currently trending toward the high scenario, with a potential peak of 700 in the next several weeks. If the high scenario peaks are reached, this would mean a greater combined impact on the acute care system than in all previous waves, and if changes in transmission cause greater spread, these numbers could be exceeded.
Modelling is for the entire province. Some regions will experience different case and hospitalization statistics per capita; this will particularly be expected in those areas with lower rates of vaccinations.
Modelling is a dynamic process where there are constant comparisons against observations versus projections. When these comparisons deviate, the model assumptions are re-evaluated, which may change with new information such as outbreak events.
This modelling is now available online. A separate evidence summary has also been posted, including key assumptions and considerations, hospital impact modelling that was developed in June to inform changes announced in late July, and a reference list for further reading.