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COVID-19 modelling data encouraging: Kenney

Alberta is doing “very well” compared to other provinces and countries when it comes to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Jason Kenney made that remark as he released extensive data to support the province’s modelling Wednesday.

The data as of April 7th shows Alberta has a confirmed case rate of 3.05 per 10,000 people, 0.2 per 10,000 for hospitalizations, 0.07 per 10,000 for those in the ICU, and a death rate of 0.06 per 10,000 people.

Under the probable scenarios laid out Tuesday, from the beginning of the outbreak to the end of the summer the province could see as many as 800,000 infections, and between 400 to 3,100 deaths. The peak would begin in mid-may. A more elevated scenario would see a peak early next month and would have a total of 1.06 million cases and 500 to 6,600 deaths. A total of 1.6-million cases and 16,000 to 32,000 deaths could be expected under an extreme situation, which would peak in a couple of weeks.

“The models we have prepared, these are not infallible and they’re not a crystal ball prediction of the future,” says Priemer Jason Kenney. “But rather, they constitute our best effort looking at all of the data which is constantly changing.”

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Some of the statistics so far have been higher than other Canadian provinces, which Kenney says is largely due to more testing being done.

“Fortunately, we’re much closer to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan than we are, for example, to the European countries, Spain, Italy, France, or for that matter the United States.”

The data also uses several key assumptions. Among them is that not all cases are detected, the transmission is more common within an age group, there is no asymptomatic transmission, people are infectious for five to 10 days, all ICU patients require ventilation, 14 per cent of cases overall are hospitalized, and five per cent require the Intensive Care Unit, but that varies significantly by age.

“We have the youngest population in Canada, which accounts for a lot in a disease like this that attacks the elderly much more aggressively,” says Kenney.

At the beginning of the month, Alberta Health Service made 1,935 beds available, with plans to open 2,250 by the end of April. In the North zone, hospital bed capacity is currently at 929, including 12 ICU beds and 33 ventilators. Alberta’s supply is expected to be enough to handle the projected peak.

Five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the AHS North zone as of 2 p.m. Wednesday. The County of Grande Prairie, which has a total of three cases confirmed, now has one listed as recovered. Both confirmed cases in the City of Grande Prairie have recovered as well.

In the Municipal District of Greenview, there is one active case and one recovered. Big Lakes County has nine active cases, five recoveries, and one death, while the Municipal District of Smoky River has 22 active cases, three recovered, and two deaths.

Provincially, there are now 1,423 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, after 50 new cases were reported on Wednesday. AHS says there have also been three more deaths reported, all of which were in the Calgary Zone. There have been 29 total deaths in Alberta connected to COVID-19.

Of the 1,423 cases reported provincially, 519 of those are cases considered recovered. 68,762 tests have been completed.

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