The Government of Alberta identified 321 new COVID-19 cases and announced 13 more deaths, including two in Red Deer, on Tuesday.
There have now been 81 deaths in the city, according to the government, up from the 79 reported in Monday’s update.
Red Deer now has 166 active cases in the city, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. Additionally, the city has recorded 9,277 recovered cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are now 5,565 active cases in the province, to go along with 330,419 recovered cases and 3,201 deaths due to implications of COVID-19.
Provincially, 518 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19 – 101 of those individuals have been admitted into intensive care units. In Alberta Health Services’ central zone, 117 are hospitalized, including nine in the ICU.
The approach of winter increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading and the potential for a fifth wave as more activities move indoors, says Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“The greater the number of contacts between people, especially in indoor locations, the greater the risk of transmission,” said Hinshaw.
Because of the number of people who remain susceptible to COVID, as well as the increased risk in more crowded indoor settings, a fifth wave is possible, she said.
“Again, as always, we have the tools to be able to minimize the impact that has.”
Hinshaw said health officials are monitoring closely to determine when and if booster shots will be expanded to all Albertans.
“We are continuing to monitor the evidence and what is clear right now is that individuals who do not fit into one of those risk categories that are currently eligible have very good protection against severe outcomes even if they should a breakthrough infection.”
Hinshaw said the risk of a fifth wave can be reduced by doing all of the things health officials have been recommending for many months, getting vaccinated, wearing masks, avoiding crowded areas and staying home when sick.
Hinshaw also urged Albertans to get their flu shots. Last year, 916,000 flu shots were given, but the uptake this year has been slower.
Three flu cases have been identified so far and the numbers will be reported daily on the government’s website.
Overall, the central zone has 913 active COVID cases.
The City of Lacombe has 64 active cases, Mountain View County has 56, Red Deer County has 53, Clearwater County has 43, Lacombe County has 43, Sylvan Lake has 40, Olds has 39 and County of Stettler has 14.
Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 113 active cases, while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 11 and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and part of Lacombe County, has nine.
The City of Camrose has 73 active cases, Camrose County has 23, Kneehill County has 20 and Drumheller has seven.