Here is a summary of today’s #COVID19AB update: In the last 24 hours, we ID’d 228 new cases of COVID-19 from about 5K tests. Positivity rate was about 4.6%. On Nov 27, 253 new cases were ID’d from about 6.6K tests. On Nov 26, we ID’d 325 new cases from about 7.5K tests. (1/11)
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There are now 432 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 77 in the ICU. Sadly, I must announce that 7 new deaths have been reported to Alberta Health since Nov 25. I extend my sincere condolences to anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one today. (2/11)
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We are working with our public health colleagues to understand more about Omicron variant. No cases have been detected in AB but it is likely it will eventually reach our province. We know a lot about COVID & have many tools at our disposal to address this new variant. (3/11)
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Our provincial lab currently screens all COVID-19 positive samples for variants – in the past week, 99.8% of all AB cases have been Delta. All samples that screen negative for Delta are sent for full genetic sequencing, this will help us identify any cases of Omicron. (4/11)
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All non-Delta cases in recently returned travellers from any country will be prioritized for genetic sequencing to determine if there are any cases of Omicron. We are also implementing additional processes for COVID cases ID’d in all returning international travellers. (5/11)
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This includes case investigation, contact tracing, PCR testing recommendations for close contacts & rapid testing options for household contacts. Unvaccinated/partially vaccinated close contacts will be asked to quarantine 14 days after their last contact w/the traveller. (6/11)
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Returning travellers should be treated with compassion & most travel cases right now will not be Omicron. We are taking interim measures to prevent potential spread. In the coming weeks if we learn Omicron does not pose new risks, these measures will be reassessed. (7/11)

Nov 29, 2021 · 11:46 PM UTC

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As a reminder, isolation for COVID symptoms & confirmed cases continues to be mandatory. No matter the strain, you are legally required to isolate for 10 days from the beginning of your illness. (8/11)
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The emergence of this new variant is a reminder of how important vaccination is. Having a complete vaccine series provides the highest level of protection available against severe outcomes, and this has still been true with all new variants of concern in the past. (9/11)
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I am hosting a telephone town hall tomorrow night with other physicians to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccine and children. To attend, register online at Alberta.ca/Townhall by noon Tues. (10/11)
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We will continue to keep the public updated as we learn more about the Omicron variant and will make any adjustments necessary to protect the health and safety of Albertans. (11/11)
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