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COVID-19 in Alberta: Hospitalizations rise as 231 new infections reported

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EDMONTON —
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alberta grew for a fourth straight day on Thursday as the province reported 233 new infections. 

It’s the second straight day Alberta has reported more than 200 new infections as active cases rose to 1,520.

There are 89 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, an increase of nine over the past five days. Twenty patients are receiving care in intensive care units.

There were no new deaths reported Thursday, leaving the province’s death toll at 2,325. The last Albertan to die due to COVD-19 was on July 23.

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The province reported a 2.84 per cent test positivity based on about 7,000 tests.

Among eligible Albertans, 75.7 per cent have received a first dose and 64.6 per cent have gotten a second shot.

On Wednesday, the province announced it was shifting its public health response and lifting a number of measures related to quarantine, isolation and masks.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the changes follow rising vaccination numbers and comparably lower risk of severe outcomes for children who contract COVID-19. 

“The data shows that what the vaccines are doing is making it less infectious and less deadly. That’s a good thing that allows us to move to that endemic response.”

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Doctors have criticized the changes as reckless. 

Noel Gibney, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta’s department of critical care, says the province’s plan leaves too many unanswered questions. 

“Why? Why are we doing these stupid things? Why are we going against all basic principles of public health?” 

“It makes absolutely no medical sense.”

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Alberta has spiked sharply in recent weeks after the removal of most health restrictions on July 1. 

In previous waves, a rise in both hospitalization and deaths has followed several weeks after an increase in cases. 

Dr. Hinshaw had said that pattern may not repeat itself given the protection vaccines afford against severe outcomes.

The province’s next data update is scheduled for Friday.

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