Alberta hospitalization rates set to continue to decline, modeling group projects

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COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline in Alberta and new modeling suggests this trend will continue.

On Friday, 1,494 people infected with COVID were being treated in Alberta hospitals, a very small increase from Thursday, but a notable drop from the all-time high of 1,675 reached on February 1.

Compared to last week, hospitalizations are down about 120 people.

Data from the BC COVID Modeling Group shows that Alberta appears to be past the hospitalization peak of the Omicron wave, particularly when it comes to new admissions.

“We can see hospitalization data on a daily basis,” said Dean Karlen, a professor of physics at the University of Victoria and a member of the Independent Modeling Group.

“It’s been down significantly since the peak. From around 150 admissions a day to now down to 100 or less.”

Karlen noted that the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is already dominant in Alberta, but hospitalizations and cases continue to decline.

Dr. Dean Karlen, member of the BC COVID-19 Modeling Group. (Google)

Karlen says that in two weeks, new hospitalizations should drop to around 50 a day

It comes as the province plans to remove more restrictions at the end of the month.

“It’s hard to know what to expect following the Alberta opener,” Karlen said.

Dr Raiyan Chowdhury, a critical care specialist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, thinks it may take time for capacity issues to subside in Alberta hospitals.

“Our regular COVID services, where patients are not on life support but still need COVID therapies such as oxygen or high flow oxygen, they have started running. The good thing, however, is that there’s a feeling that things now might slow down a bit.”

Chowdhury is encouraged by sewage data which also indicates Alberta has passed the peak of the Omicron wave, although he expects hospitals to be busy for weeks to come.

Dr. Raiyan Chowdhury says Alberta hospitals continue to face capacity issues. (Raiyan Chowdhury)

“That still means there are still a lot of cases right after the peak…so things are going to be busy for us going forward.”

Whether the province drops restrictions on March 1 depends on whether hospitalizations drop. This decline must also continue so that the province can determine a timetable for the third and final stage of its reopening plan.

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