Alberta’s chief public health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, along with Premier Jason Kenney provided an update on COVID-19 in the province on Tuesday.
With cases surging in the province, Hinshaw said Alberta has never seen a higher positivity rate. “Omicron is different,” Hinshaw said, with about one in three people testing positive. While she didn’t have the latest data on the Omicron variant, she stated that it wouldn’t be until about the end of January that they would know the impact it’s having on hospitalizations and deaths.
Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday that his government is assessing the situation and a decision whether or not to pause in-classroom learning could come later this week. Kenney said given the surge in cases with Omicron, “the outbreak protocols that we’ve had to date will likely become very obsolete very quickly and that many teachers and staff may be in isolation.”
The Omicron variant is spreading much faster than Delta in Alberta, with doubling times of just two to three days. Because of that, contact tracing case investigations for people working in continuing care and health care will be prioritized and PCR testing capacity will be reserved for high-risk groups. Anyone with symptoms is asked to isolate and take a rapid test.
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