Ami Amato woke up recently with a throbbing headache and chills. Having already received two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, she shrugged it off as a cold.
To be safe, though, she searched COVID-19 symptoms on Google — cough, fever, runny nose, trouble breathing, loss of taste and smell — and checked off a number of them.
She booked a COVID-19 test. The next day she was informed her test came back positive and it was likely caused by the delta variant.
"It has really freaked me out," said Amato, who lives in Edmonton.
"I thought I was good to go. I am certainly not good to go."
She knew the vaccine would not make her completely immune to the novel coronavirus, particularly the variants of concern.
LISTEN | Stories from Edmontonians dealing with COVID-19:
But she did not expect to test positive for COVID-19, especially after being double-dosed.
Similar situations are happening in Alberta and other jurisdictions, including the United States and United Kingdom.
COVID-19 vaccines offer a great deal of protection, but they are not a suit of armour, said Dr. Shazma Mithani, an emergency room physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
Those who have received two doses of vaccine should have "a healthy amount of caution" and take COVID-19 symptoms even more seriously because they will be more mild, she said.
"A sniffle that might feel like allergies or a little scratch at the back of your throat might actually be COVID," Mithani said.
Whether a person is vaccinated or not, anyone feeling unwell should book a COVID-19 test, she added.
Amato finds COVID-19 to be like a cold and flu combined, she said.
She credits the vaccine for protecting her from having more severe symptoms.
Severe outcomes suffered mostly by unvaccinated people
Alberta is leading the country in daily new COVID-19 cases and known active during the pandemic's fourth wave.
On Friday, public health officials reported 1,401 new COVID-19 cases — the highest daily case count since May 13 — and the total of known active cases jumped to 13,495.
There were 515 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19, including 118 patients in ICU, as of Friday's update.
Provincial officials, including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced new measures Friday morning aimed to stem transmission, create capacity in the health-care system and boost vaccination rates.
Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS), told reporters Friday morning that the province had reached 95 per cent of its ICU capacity.
As a result, AHS will be postponing non-urgent surgeries scheduled throughout the province so it can free up beds and resources.
As of Friday, 70.2 per cent of eligible Albertans have received two doses of vaccine, while 78.3 per cent have received at least one dose.
But about four-in-five of the Albertans in hospital for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The others are at least partially vaccinated, Kenney said Friday.
The surge comes about two months after Alberta mostly re-opened on July 1, as COVID-19 cases were dropping.
Around that time, Amato had received her second dose and adhered to public health precautions more loosely, such as no longer wearing a mask in indoor public spaces such as grocery stores.
"I took advantage of the fact that I was vaccinated," she said.
Now she is barricaded at home for 10 days alone.
Amato doesn't know how she caught COVID-19, but suspects it was while shopping or at a restaurant.
"This is nowhere near over yet."
Amato is considering not sending her daughter back to school, as the Grade 5 student is too young to be vaccinated.