COVID-19 cases continue to escalate locally, as Airdrie reported 148 active cases March 29.
A daily COVID-19 update page on Airdrie.ca states there have been 2,107 total cases of the virus reported in the city since March 2020. To date, 1,942 Airdronians have recovered from COVID-19 and 17 deaths have been reported.
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As local public school students prepare for spring break next week, cases are confirmed at eight schools in Airdrie, according to the provincial COVID-19 status map. Northcott Prairie School and A.E. Bowers Elementary School are listed under "outbreak" status, meaning they have reported five to nine active cases. R.J. Hawkey Elementary School, Atlas Learning Academy Ltd., Meadowbrook School and Our Lady Queen of Peace Elementary School have all been listed under "alert" status, meaning they are reporting two to four active cases. École Airdrie Middle School and Ralph McCall School have also been added to the list under "alert" status.
Across the province, according to alberta.ca, 545 new cases were identified on March 28, with a test positivity rate of 6.5 per cent. The new cases mean there were 7,922 active cases in the province as of March 29 – a climb from 6,835 on March 24 and 6,176 on March 22.
There have been a total of 146,885 cases in Alberta since the pandemic began. According to the reported provincial numbers, 136,980 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19 as of March 29, while 288 patients are in hospital with the virus and 64 Albertans are in intensive care units. In total, 1,983 deaths have been reported in Alberta from COVID-19.
Regarding variant COVID-19 cases, Alberta identified 249 additional cases of variants of concern on March 28, bringing the provincial total to 2,152 active. Variant cases now account for 27 per cent of active cases in the province.
On the vaccination front, 608,032 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Alberta as of March 28, according to government figures. To date, 97,561 Albertans are fully immunized with two doses of a vaccine. On March 30, the provincial government entered Phase 2B of its vaccination rollout program. Under Phase 2B, more than 945,000 Albertans with underlying health conditions, including people living with disabilities, cancer patients, transplant receivers and other conditions, are eligible to receive the vaccinations.
Similar to Airdrie, Rocky View County's (RVC) number of COVID-19 cases also climbed recently, as 92 active cases were reported as of March 28 – an increase of 19 from March 24. Six schools in RVC are on the provincial COVID-19 status map; Khalsa School Calgary Educational Foundation in Conrich, Springbank Middle School and Edge School in Springbank, Springbank Community High School and W.G. Murdoch School in Crossfield are all listed under "outbreak" status, with five to nine active cases. Bearspaw School has been added to the list under "alert" status.
On the east side of the county, Chestermere reported 73 active cases as of March 28 – an increase of 19 from March 24. Three schools are listed on the provincial COVID-19 status map; Chestermere Lake Middle School, Chestermere High School and St. Gabriel the Archangel School are all listed under "outbreak" status.
Out west, Cochrane reported 33 active cases of the virus as of March 28, while four Cochrane schools have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks. Bow Valley High School is experiencing an outbreak of the virus, with more than 10 cases confirmed, while Elizabeth Barrett Elementary School, Fireside School and Cochrane High School are also listed on the government's COVID-19 school status map, with two to four active cases each.
Alberta's chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during her March 29 update that Alberta is temporarily pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in anyone under the age of 55.
"This is a precautionary measure that is being taken across Canada," she said. "As I mentioned to you last week, there have been some rare instances of blood clots reported in Europe that require more investigation."
Hinshaw said while all available data and evidence show no increase in the overall risk of blood clots for those who receive the AstraZeneca shot, in a very small number of people who received the vaccine, a blood clot in the brain was reported four to 20 days after the vaccine.
"These incidents are rare, and at this point seem to be linked to AstraZeneca, possibly through an immune response," Hinshaw said. "There is no evidence of any similar issues linked to the other vaccines that we are using in Alberta."