According to health and infectious disease specialists, the rate at which COVID-19 infections are increasing in Alberta is concerning, as it is spreading quicker than during the pandemic’s third wave. According to Alberta Health, the R-value, which reflects the number of individuals infected by each sick person, was 1.48 (with a confidence interval of 1.38-1.59) as of Sunday.
This figure, which has more than quadrupled in recent weeks, means that 100 persons infected with the virus would infect 148 others. Carolyn Colijn, a Canada 150 research chair in mathematics for infectious and public health at Simon Fraser University, believes that growing R-values are more worrying than rising case numbers.
Cases and positive rates are now modest, but increasing, thanks to the more infectious delta variation. On Tuesday, Alberta has 1,173 current cases, with a test positive rate of 2.54%. Talbot expressed special to worry about the number of persons who are still unvaccinated. Vaccination offers excellent protection against COVID-19 infection as well as further protection against severe consequences.
According to Alberta Health, 35.8 percent of the overall population has yet to obtain a single vaccination injection (25 percent of those eligible), and 45.7 percent are not completely immunized. That implies that more than 1.5 million individuals in the province, about half of whom are children under the age of 12 and are not eligible for vaccination, are still at risk of contracting COVID–19.
According to Talbot, experts anticipate that the majority of new cases will be among unvaccinated persons. According to Talbot, there are also worries for people who develop COVID-19 but are not hospitalized, as they may still suffer from a protracted, unpleasant sickness or long-term impairment. Concerns have also been raised for immunocompromised persons, for whom vaccinations do not provide as much protection.
As for what’s causing the increasing spread, Jenne believes it’s a combination of factors. On July 1, the government relaxed public health restrictions, and many individuals are no longer wearing masks or meetings are being held indoors. He believes that contact tracing will be critical to understanding this prospective new wave.
For 40% of current cases, the source of transmission is unclear. Alberta Health Services had 2,095 case investigators and contact tracers as of July 16, down from 2,500 earlier in the epidemic. There are some advantages, according to Jenne, including as the fact that with so many older individuals vaccinated, the surge in cases may not result in the same fatality rates as past waves.
However, there are still some unknowns.