Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping said in a Wednesday press release that there are 589 COVID-19 patients in hospital, the lowest since early January and only 13 in the ICU, the lowest since Oct. 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP)

Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping said in a Wednesday press release that there are 589 COVID-19 patients in hospital, the lowest since early January and only 13 in the ICU, the lowest since Oct. 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP)

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall in Alberta

17 new deaths related to the virus in the last seven days

Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping says pressure from COVID-19 on hospitals continues to ease as the Omicron wave recedes.

Copping said in a Wednesday press release that there are 589 COVID-19 patients in hospital, the lowest since early January and only 13 in the ICU, the lowest since Oct. 2020. In the Central zone, there are 85 people in hospital infected with the virus, with one in the ICU.

“Our hospitals and other services remain under strain, especially in Edmonton and Calgary, for the same reasons as in other provinces: a wave of patients in recent months, plus the impact of the past two years on the health workforce,” Copping said.

“The result is that EMS and emergency departments are struggling to keep up even though spending is at record levels and staff are being added across the system, including 800 more staff in emergency departments than before the pandemic.”

“These pressures will ease as the Omicron BA.2 wave recedes and we get through the current wave of other respiratory viruses. And we’re continuing to add capacity. Alberta Health Services has now opened 26 of the 50 new ICU beds funded in Budget 2022 and nine new ambulances will be on the streets in Edmonton and Calgary by the end of this month.”

Between June 21 and 27, the province identified 943 new cases of the virus, on about 8,200 tests.

There were 17 more deaths in the province over the past week due to implications of the virus and 4,621 people have died from COVID-19-related illnesses since the start of the pandemic.

“It’s been a tough spring for our health system in Alberta and across Canada. We know the pandemic is not over,” Copping added.

“We have to expect cases to increase again, most likely in the fall, and we’re preparing for that. We’ll continue to closely monitor the emergence of new variants and keep Albertans informed of the risks from the pandemic and how we’re responding to them.”

In Red Deer, the number of new COVID cases over the previous seven days ending on Monday was 10 — down four over the previous seven days. The seven-day case rate is 9.4 per 100,000 people, compared with 13.2 a week ago.

The total number of Red Deer cases since the pandemic began is now 15,266.

In Red Deer County, there was one new case over seven days, down from seven the seven days prior.

Sylvan Lake has had one new case, Lacombe seven, Olds four, Wetaskiwin 12, Camrose one and Drumheller two.

Lacombe County has had two, Clearwater County two, Mountain View County 23, Kneehill County one and Camrose County two.

On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has had 13 new cases, while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, had one and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and part of Lacombe County, had two.