Alberta COVID-19 infections nears 1,000 and not expected to peak till May

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on April 3, 2020

Alberta has reportedly neared 1,000 cases of COVID19 as of the end of the week, which will be announced in the provincial update on the pandemic at 4:30 pm. 

So far, the province has not been struck badly by the pandemic, but due to a spike of cases on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Alberta now has seen 968 cases and 13 deaths.

The issue behind the major spike Alberta has experienced may be due to the province lagging behind other areas of the world and not yet taking COVID19 as seriously as it should be. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on March 27, had to downsize the maximum allowable social gathering from 50 to 15 people, which may have to be further reduced as countries like Australia have had to reduce gatherings to no more than two people.

Why it may seem as if COVID19 is not affecting Alberta would be due to the far less densely populated cities and towns compared to places like New York state and the United Kingdom, where social distancing and transportation are far more difficult without interacting with other people.

Recently a shocking photo was distributed online showing essential workers in New York City still packing subway cars at 6 pm after getting off shift. 

In Alberta, it’s expected that unlike other areas of the world like Italy and Spain, we are still a long way away from reaching the peak of the COVID19 pandemic due to the slower possible growth rate here. 

Premier Kenney just yesterday predicted, based on the information from his health officials, Alberta may not reach the peak of the pandemic until May, which may require the province to stay in a state of lockdown longer than many other jurisdictions. 

On one bright note, Kenney assured Albertans that, “We are confident in our capacity to cope. We are confident at this stage that we will have excess hospital and health care capacity to deal with the peak of infections.”

Despite this, the province is still stockpiling more ventilators, masks, and other medical equipment if the situation in Alberta turns direr. The province has also opened extra assessment facilities to make testing more widely available. 

University of Calgary health researchers are less sure that the province’s health system won’t be overwhelmed. The researchers expect that if cases keep doubling every five days, as they have been on average, Alberta will be facing predicted 27,000 cases by the end of the month.

Of those 27,000 cases, 4,100 are expected to need hospitalization, and 1,400 will require the ICU.

Dr. Christopher Mody said, “We might be able to handle that with available bed space and medical staff that is available,” predicting that if Alberta can reduce infection doubling to every seven days rather than five, then we will be in a much more manageable position.

Although the problem in Alberta is mild compared to other areas of Canada and the world, the province is stressing that non-essential workers continue to stay home and that nobody goes into busy areas unless necessary. The extent of the pandemic in Alberta could become much worse if people begin to start ignoring AHS recommendations. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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