Check against delivery.
Thank you, Minister, and good afternoon everyone.
Before I get to today’s numbers, I want to briefly talk about vaccination records. Any time you receive an immunization – whether it’s for COVID-19, seasonal influenza or anything else – you should be given a paper record of immunization that shows what injection you got, as well as where and when you got it.
In Alberta, the immunization provider then uploads that information to the Provincial Immunization Repository so it becomes part of your official, electronic health record.
Lately, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Albertans who say they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine but their online record is missing.
In some cases, the individual has received an immunization from out of province or out of country so their original record of immunization simply needs to be uploaded to Alberta Health Services.
However, we are also seeing instances where individuals claim they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 but they can’t provide the original documentation or the documentation they have can’t be validated.
As Alberta Health Services cannot accept verbal history for proof of immunization of any kind, re-immunization of anyone without validated proof of vaccine is recommended to ensure the individual actually does have vaccine protection and to make sure that there is an accurate record of vaccination. This is standard practice in these situations and is not specific to the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are missing immunization records, you can contact Health Link at 811 for more information.
Turning to today’s numbers, over the last 24 hours, we identified 487 new cases of COVID-19, and completed about 10,300 tests.
Our positivity rate was about 4.8%.
Cases in school-aged children continue to decline. There are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 184 schools.
Of these, 4 schools had 10 or more COVID cases who attended during the last 14 days while infectious.
As the Premier mentioned, there are currently 697 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 155 in the ICU.
Sadly, I must announce that 14 new deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours.
My thoughts are with those left behind to mourn these individuals, and anyone who has lost a loved one to any cause.
As the Premier mentioned, throughout the month of October, we have seen a sharp decline in our cases, across the province and across Albertans of all ages.
We have passed the peak of the fourth wave thanks to the targeted public health measures we have in place and our rising immunization rates as more eligible Albertans choose to be immunized.
This combination is helping to reduce the demand for acute and critical care for those with COVID-19.
Making third doses available as of next Monday to an additional 600,000 eligible Albertans, six months after their second, should also help make a difference.
As Chief Medical Officer of Health, I fully support the expanded eligibility for booster doses as the evidence has shown protection against severe outcomes may decline faster in these groups.
I know that many Albertans may be wondering when their turn will come, and whether they should also be getting booster shots.
I’d like to be clear that at this time, the evidence does not support a need for boosters in the general population where most people received their second doses at a longer and more effective interval from the first.
We will continue to monitor all emerging evidence on vaccine effectiveness across Canada and around the world, and will bring forward recommendations on additional boosters for the public, if needed.
We will also stay on top of recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization and keep Albertans informed when information is available.
Thank you and we’re happy to take questions.