Alberta’s top doctor shared a sobering statistic after the province announced its 760th COVID-19 death.
“In less than ten months, more Albertans have now died from COVID-19 than have died from influenza in the last ten years combined,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.
So far in December, 172 people who contracted the virus have died. This is about 22 per cent of total deaths.
“Every death is a reminder that we must reduce the spread as quickly as possible,” Hinshaw said.
“I want to remind anyone who is in the 20 to 40 age range that this virus also impacts you.”
In Alberta to date, more than 32,000 people between the ages of 20 and 39 have contracted the virus, 380 of them have needed hospital treatment, and eight of these have died.
“To put this in perspective, if you gathered every Albertan between the ages of 20 and 39 who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they would fill the Saddledome in Calgary, the Centrium in Red Deer and the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge,” Hinshaw said.
Alberta recorded its lowest daily number of COVID-19 cases since November 27, but Hinshaw said the province is going ahead with freeing up more acute and ICU beds. This includes setting up a temporary hospital at the Butterdome at the University of Alberta.
“It will take a few weeks to set up the care centre, which could add an additional 100 inpatient beds,” she said.
This is for precautionary measures and there is no plan to staff these beds unless they are needed, Hinshaw added.
Hinshaw took time Wednesday reassuring the public about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine which is being administered to health-care workers.
“It’s important to remember that Canada has one of the most robust regulatory systems for new vaccines in the world,” she said.
“The ingredients inside it are only those needed to keep the vaccine stable and safe.”
A clinical trial with tens of thousands of participants from multiple countries found no safety concerns, she said.
Alberta expects to receive more than 25,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week