An Edmonton doctor said a drop in the number of hospitals and a reduction in COVID-19 daily cases are reasons for “cautious optimism” that the fourth wave of the virus has peaked.
A decline in the number of patients in hospitals, along with consistently lower daily COVID-19 numbers, often marks the beginning of the crest of a peak — a trend Alberta has seen in the first, second and third waves.
The lowest hospitalization numbers were recently observed by Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services. Yiu said over the past six weeks, she has been concerned about an unprecedented level of pressure on Alberta’s healthcare system.
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On Tuesday, she said she was feeling “a little more optimistic” than in the long run.
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“We are seeing the pressure on our hospitals ease slightly,” she said, praising those who have been vaccinated and following health restrictions.
“It’s a weak silver lining for what has been a very difficult period for our healthcare system.”
Yiu said the situation remains extremely serious and stressed that it is too early to point out a trend.
Dr. Stephanie Smith, an infectious disease expert, said a number of different metrics could indicate the peak of the fourth wave.
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“The first is a decline in the number of communities. This is usually the first thing we see declining.
“Two to three weeks later, we see a drop in hospital admissions. This signals that we are on the slope of the fourth wave,” Smith said.
“I think there is a reason for cautious optimism at this point in time.”
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Smith said the best insurance for preventing further surges is widespread vaccination. She noted that the approved and available vaccine for children under 12 years of age will be an extremely useful step in preventing transmission.
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“Provence has proven quite difficult to predict the future of COVID-19, but if we have more and more people vaccinated, then we can continue to see a transmission in the community, but we are seeing that we do not have these extraordinary waves of people who come to the hospital and are seriously ill, “she said.
The infectious disease expert said she and other specialists do not have a specific number for the necessary vaccine coverage, but said it should be much higher than Alberta’s current level of 76.2 percent of qualified people who are fully vaccinated. .
“The hope is with the reduction of transmission and the increase of vaccination, we will not see the emergence of other variants,” Smith said.
“My hope is to reach a point without significant transmission. Somewhere around 85 or 90 percent.”
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Global News asked Alberta Health if there is a new vaccine coverage target that the province is aiming for when it comes to facilitating public health measures.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “We have not set specific thresholds for easing public health measures or eliminating the exclusion program. The REP is expected to remain in place at least in the first quarter of 2022.”
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“We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Alberta,” Alberta Health said.
“Any future move to facilitate public health measures will take into account many factors, including the prevalence of COVID-19, the pressure on the health system, vaccination rates, the need to balance restrictions with their impacts on overall health,” he said. global evidence and expert advice like Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “
Smith said she would continue to recommend other layers of protection until we are in a more endemic phase of COVID-19, including wearing masks and physical distancing.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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