Airdrie has reported a new record in active COVID-19 infections, with 586 cases of the virus as of Jan. 5.
The city has also seen two additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the Alberta government last updated numbers in the final week of 2021. As of Jan. 5, 24 residents of Airdrie have died of COVID-19.
The 586 cases, as reported on Airdrie.ca, are an increase of more than 500 infections from Dec. 13, 2021, when 69 active infections were reported in the city. In previous waves of the pandemic, Airdrie's highest total was 474 active cases. The city has seen 6,281 total cases of the virus since the pandemic began 21 months ago.
Infections have skyrocketed locally, provincially and nationally in the last four weeks as the Omicron variant of concern continues to spread throughout the population. As of Jan. 5, according to government figures, 37,196 active cases were identified in Alberta, and 4,752 new cases were reported on Jan. 4, with a test positivity rate of about 37 per cent.
While Omicron tends result in less severe illness than the Delta variant, the sheer number of new cases has still resulted in hospitalization rates climbing in Alberta. As of Jan. 5, 470 COVID patients in Alberta were in hospital – an increase of 34 in one day. As of the same date, 72 patients were in intensive care units – an increase of 11 in one day.
At least 3,333 Albertans have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to Alberta government figures. Eleven new deaths were reported on Jan. 5.
Back to school
Despite the record-setting case numbers and climb in hospitalizations, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Jan. 5 that students in kindergarten to Grade 12 would resume in-class learning on Jan. 10. Students were initially supposed to return to classes on Jan. 3, but the resumption was delayed a week in light of spiking COVID-19 cases.
“Experts across Canada and around the world continue to stress the importance of in-person learning to the overall health of our children and our youth,” she said. “I myself have heard overwhelmingly from families that learning in person is best for children.
“Most children feel more connected, they learn better, and generally thrive when they are at school in person. This is why Alberta’s government has placed such a priority on safe in-classroom instruction, and on making sure that our schools have the tools that they need.”