Active cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Alberta, as 134 new cases reported Tuesday

Experts have called these rising COVID-19 numbers "predictable," and one Edmonton doctor says we've begun to usher in our fourth wave. While the majority of Albertans now have protection against the virus, there could still be consequences for everyone. Morgan Black reports.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta continues to increase, up to 1,173 active cases Tuesday from 1,083 a day earlier.

Alberta reported 134 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, from 5,428 tests. The province’s seven-day average positivity rate is 1.99 per cent.

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Of the 1,173 active cases, 725 are in the Calgary zone, 211 are in the Edmonton zone, 92 are in the South zone, 80 are in the North zone, 63 are in the Central zone and two are in an unknown zone.

There are 82 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 21 of them in intensive care.

Three additional COVID-19-related deaths were reported Tuesday, bringing the province’s death toll from the disease to 2,325.

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As of July 26, 75.5 per cent of Albertans 12 and older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 63.9 per cent of eligible Albertans are now fully vaccinated with two doses.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health took to Twitter Tuesday to say that less than half of Albertans 20 to 29 years old are fully vaccinated — “a number we need to increase.”

“Vaccines save lives, and even younger Albertans need the protection that comes with getting vaccinates,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

All Albertans 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Details on how to book an appointment can be found online or by calling Health Link at 811.

Doctor worried about burnout among health-care workers

Dr. Darren Markland, an intensive care physician in Edmonton, said the fourth wave will be a different experience for vaccinated Albertans.

“Most people won’t see it. Everyone who’s vaccinated is going to be safe,” he said.

“These vaccines have worked for every variant. However, it will affect hospitals and hospital support staff a lot.”

Markland said by proxy that will also impact Albertans beyond COVID-19 exposure.

“That could hamstring surgeries and cardiac operations that have to be done to people who aren’t being faced with COVID-19 because they’ve gotten vaccinated as they should have.”

Markland said Albertans also need to take note of another resource: nurses, doctors and support staff completely burned out from the pandemic.

“First of all, they won’t be around to draw on. We used up a lot of good will for the first three waves,” he said.

“We’re not only bleeding support and regular staff, the environment (with the Alberta government’s proposed cutbacks) is making it extremely hard to work in.”

Markland said it’s important to note that the pandemic is not over.

“The whole idea this has gone away is false,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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