Alberta sets new COVID-19 records with 207 people hospitalized with the illness

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Alberta set three more COVID-19 records on Tuesday, with active cases surpassing the 8,000 mark and 207 people now being treated in hospitals for the illness.

The hospital cases included 43 patients in ICU beds.

The number of active cases now stands at 8,090.

Those three totals have never been higher since the pandemic began in March.

The breakdown of active cases in the province was:

  • Calgary zone: 3,434

  • Edmonton zone: 3,255

  • North zone: 542

  • South zone: 488

  • Central zone: 317

  • Unknown: 54

Doctors and other health-care workers are warning that the province's hospitals may not be able to handle the rising number of cases.

In a letter sent Monday to Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, more than 70 physicians warned that Alberta's acute-care system could soon be overburdened because of COVID-19 cases.

Edmonton hospitals alone were treating 115 COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, including 23 people in ICU beds.

The physicians' letter said the province should consider a two-week short, sharp lockdown, or "circuit-breaker," to allow contact tracing to catch up.

"We believe it is time we had clear direction from our provincial government," the letter said. "We need rules not suggestions."

Dr. Jim Kellner, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary, said he also fears the health-care system will be overwhelmed.

"All the things that you would … be looking for have all been going in the wrong direction steadily now for several weeks," Kellner said.

"I'm concerned that we are at risk in Alberta of moving toward a place where we are going to really strain our ability to take care of people who are sick."

The province announced 713 new cases and seven more COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.

The most recent deaths were:

  • Two men in their 80s linked to the outbreak at Mayerthorpe Extendicare in the North zone.

  • A woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at the South Terrace Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton.

  • A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at the Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline facility in the Edmonton zone.

  • A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton.

  • A woman in her 70s from the Edmonton zone who was not a resident in continuing care.

  • A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at the Wing Kei Care Centre in Calgary.

The number of deaths now totals 376.

On Monday, Hinshaw said about 12 per cent of Alberta schools had active COVID-19 alerts or outbreaks. As of Tuesday, there were 157 schools listed on the province's outbreak list, including 57 with watch status (five or more cases).