On Sunday, Alberta reported roughly 500 new cases of COVID-19 from Dec. 26, the province’s lowest daily value since late October.
However, the drop in detected infections is the result of fewer Albertans getting tested for the virus over Christmas, according to the province’s top doctor.
“Please note: fewer people were tested Dec. 25 so fewer tests were processed and reported on Dec. 26,” Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Twitter Sunday.
The estimated 500 new cases came from about 6,900 tests, representing about a 7.2 per cent positivity rate — the highest reported in Alberta in more than a week.
For a fourth consecutive day, Alberta provided only “estimated” figures for case numbers and testing rates via social media.
Hinshaw said admission rates of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and ICUs is “stable,” but it’s unclear exactly how many Albertans with the virus are receiving treatment in acute-care settings. Both hospitalizations and ICU admissions saw a “small increase” each of the two previous days.
Additionally, Alberta did not report Sunday on how many additional deaths from COVID-19 had taken place in the province.
Here is today's #COVID19AB modified update:
On Dec. 26, there was an estimated:
– 500 cases
– 6,900 laboratory tests
– 7% positivity
– hospitalizations – stable
– ICU – stable
Please note: fewer people were tested Dec. 25 so fewer tests were processed and reported on Dec. 26
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) December 27, 2020
Alberta has not reported data on COVID-19 fatalities since Wednesday, when the province announced 19 additional deaths. To date, at least 890 Albertans have died from the novel coronavirus, including at least 310 in December alone.
Sunday’s update followed a milestone reached on Christmas Day, when the province recorded fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in more than a month.
On Saturday, Alberta reported an estimated 900 positive cases, from Dec. 25, out of approximately 14,200 tests, a positivity rate of 6.3 per cent — a rate which was also the lowest since mid-November.
Alberta had last recorded fewer than 1,000 infections in a day on Nov. 17, when there were 730 new cases.
The most recent public-health measures implemented by Alberta officials have now been in place for two weeks or more. Orders mandating mask-use in indoor, public spaces provincewide and banning all indoor and outdoor social gatherings were banned Dec. 8, while closures of some businesses and restrictions on retail capacity began Dec. 13.
Hinshaw has said it typically takes about two weeks for public-health measures to reflect in daily case data, as the incubation period for COVID-19 is about 14 days.
On Wednesday, when the figures were last updated, Alberta had 17,821 active cases of the coronavirus, including 6,470 in the Alberta Health Services Calgary zone.
There were 821 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19 Wednesday, 146 of whom were in ICUs.
A full update on the coronavirus in Alberta, including a press conference from Hinshaw, will take place Monday.