Keep an eye on the numbers – COVID-19 in Alberta

As of March 30, there were 964 Albertans in hospital April 1, 2022
Alberta could see record COVID-19 hospitalizations within 14 days, early warning system projections suggest Jan 8, 2022.
Omicron has completely changed the pandemic — it’s time to change how we respond to it Jan 8, 2022.
Canada is flying blind with Omicron as COVID-19 testing drops off a cliff Jan 5, 2022.

Non-ICU hospitalizations in Alberta peaked at 868 on Sept. 27, provincial data shows. The Alberta Health Services COVID-19 early warning system predicts that figure will be eclipsed within two weeks. Daniel Becerril, Reuters. CBC

Robson Fletcher, CBC News Calgary March 30, 2020 • Updated November 2, 2021. This story is no longer being updated daily, as of Nov. 2, 2021.

We updated and reposted this story almost every day for 582 days during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta and subsequent waves and want to thank you, our audience, for the enthusiastic feedback over those many months: we’re so glad you found it useful. We will no longer be updating it as of Nov. 2, 2021, but you can find all the latest important developments on COVID-19 in Alberta on our CBC Calgary and CBC Edmonton websites.
  Keep an eye on the numbers

The data-driven pandemic: Information sharing with COVID-19 is ‘unprecedented’

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are so many numbers flying around, it’s hard to keep track. Here, we’ll do our best to keep track for you.

Below you’ll find a series of curated charts, which will be updated as new information becomes available.

You’ll also find brief descriptions of how the data is measured, what it shows — and what it doesn’t show. This context is important to make sense of the numbers.

We’ll start with new cases.

New Cases

These are the figures that tend to be front and centre in the daily updates about COVID-19.

There are some issues with relying on new-case data, alone, as the number of cases you detect is related to the amount testing you do and who you’re testing, (more on that in a moment).

But the advantage of looking at new cases is that they tend to be a leading indicator of how the virus is spreading, where it’s spreading, and whether the spread is speeding up or slowing down.

This first chart shows us the number of new cases identified each day since mid-March 2020, and a seven-day average of daily new cases.

New cases in Alberta. Each black dot is the number of new cases on a given day. The red line is the average over the previous 7 days. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
Alberta reported more COVID-19 cases in September than any month prior, data shows Oct 4, 2021
COVID’s R-value (or ability to spread) is once again rising in Alberta Jul 14, 2021
Alberta records lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than 10 months Jun 21, 2021
Alberta surpasses 25,000 active COVID-19 cases, reports 2,042 new cases May 8, 2021
Alberta once again shatters COVID-19 record with 1,854 new cases Dec 3, 2020

A common question about these case numbers is why they don’t always match the numbers cited by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, when she gives her public updates.

That’s because Alberta Health actually reports two sets of case numbers: a simplified net count and a regularly updated detailed count.

These two counts can vary slightly on some days because there is always a little uncertainty in the latest daily numbers.

Sometimes Alberta Health learns, days after counting a “probable” case of COVID-19, that it actually wasn’t a true case of the disease. In that event, the case is subtracted from the count. Other times, new information comes in late about a case that wasn’t initially included in a day’s tally. In that event, the case is added to that day’s count.

These fluctuations mean that Alberta Health is constantly adjusting its data, and it does so in two ways.

In the simplified numbers (which Dr. Hinshaw cites and are also posted on this section of the Alberta Health website), these fluctuations are netted out, so that the numbers reported each day add up to the total number of cases.

In the detailed data (which are posted on this other section of the Alberta Health website), the case counts are retroactively adjusted as new information comes in.

The data in the charts presented here come from the detailed data, not the simplified numbers, and thus are retroactively updated in the same way.

Track how many people have been given the COVID-19 vaccine across Canada


Number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Canada. Chart: Dexter McMillan. Source: Public Health Agency of Canada. CBC News. Click for a full screen view.

Do you need a 4th dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Encouraging ongoing booster uptake could also be a challenge, if the current climate in Canada is any indication. Data current as of March 20, 2022. CBC. Source: Government of Canada. Click for a full screen view. See COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker.
Early evidence that boosters seem to hold up against Omicron subvariant BA.2 Jan 28, 2022
Is it time for a 4th dose of COVID-19 vaccine? Not just yet Mar 28, 2022

Vaccinations continue to roll out to more and more Albertans, but the pace of immunization has ebbed and flowed along with the supply of vaccine arriving from manufacturers to the federal government, which then distributes them to Alberta.

This next chart shows vaccination progress in terms of the total number of doses distributed to Alberta (the dotted line) and the total number of shots administered to Albertans (the solid line).

Alberta COVID-19 vaccination progress. Distribution data ‘jumps’ in 7-day increments because it has typically been updated weekly by Public Health Agency of Canada. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health & Public Health Agency of Canada. Click for a full screen view.

Health-care workers and residents of long-term care homes were among the first to receive the vaccines in Alberta, and many were given the full two doses on (or near) the manufacturers’ originally recommended schedules.

But as time went on, Alberta and other jurisdictions (both in Canada and around the world) changed strategy and opted to give single doses to more people as soon as possible, deferring the second doses until later on.

Vaccines were then largely rolled out by age, meaning older Albertans had earlier opportunities to be vaccinated.

In this next chart, you can see how the number of people who have received at least one dose compares with the number of unvaccinated people in each age range.

Number of Albertans vaccinated against COVID-19, by age. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

And finally, it’s helpful to look at the proportion of people who have been vaccinated.

This next chart shows the percentage of Albertans, by age, who have received at least one dose of vaccine, two doses, or no vaccination.

Proportion of Albertans vaccinated against COVID-19, by age. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

In mid-May 2021, Alberta Health also started publishing detailed geographic breakdowns of vaccination rates, by age.

This next interactive shows the percentage of population in each of 132 “local geographic areas” defined by Alberta Health.

Proportion of population with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by age and local health area in Alberta. Click or tap on the drop-down menu to select a particular area. They are listed in alphabetical order. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Note that the boundaries of these “local geographic areas” do not necessarily correspond exactly to the boundaries of municipalities with the same or similar names.

To see the exact boundaries of these “local geographic areas,” scroll down to the interactive map in the Active and recovered cases section below.

For more information on how Alberta’s vaccine distribution compares to other provinces and territories, check out CBC’s national vaccine tracker.

New variants

COVID-19 variants in Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada includes a caveat for the weeks of March 21 and March 27 that says that data is still accumulating for those weeks, so it may be incomplete. Chart: Dexter McMillan. Public Health Agency of Canada. CBC News. Click for a full screen view.

The timing of your next COVID-19 vaccine may be more important than ever, as highly contagious Omicron subvariants are on the rise in Canada and waning immunity from previous vaccination and infection threatens to fuel another surge.

Canada is once again a hotbed for variants, with BA.2.12.1 now making up more than 40 per cent of COVID cases, while BA.4 and BA.5 are quickly gaining ground at more than 10 per cent combined in late May — a major jump from less than one per cent weeks earlier.

But the latest available federal data is weeks out of date and modelling experts CBC News spoke to estimate the true proportion of BA.4 and BA.5 cases is more than 20 per cent — and could be as high as 50 — with one of them likely to become dominant in the coming weeks.

Cumulative reported omicron variant cases, by province. Rob Easton CBC. Source: Provincial health agencies. Click for a full screen view.

Daily new Omicron variant cases in Alberta. 7-day average has increased by 50% since Thursday, Dec 16, 2021, nearly tripled since Wednesday. Rob Easton CBC. Source: Alberta Health Services. Click for a full screen view.

In early 2021, Alberta Health started reporting more data on new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Two variants of particular concern are known as B117 (which originated in the United Kingdom) and B1351 (which originated in South Africa). A variant known as P1 (which originated in Brazil) was later added to this list, and after that came the first confirmed cases of the B1617 variant, first identified in India.

These variants have numerous genetic mutations compared with the dominant type of virus that circulated in Alberta in 2020. They are of concern to public health officials because they are believed to transmit more easily from person to person.

The first case of alpha variant in Alberta was reported on Dec. 28, 2020, although it was actually detected earlier in December in a retrospective analysis of a sample that had been taken from a COVID-positive patient.

It takes additional time for a COVID-positive specimen to then be screened for variants of concern, and the tests for some variants can take longer than others. So, it’s often days later that a confirmed case is identified as a particular variant.

By February 2021, Alberta Health was testing all positive specimens for variants of concern. Prior to that, it was selectively testing specimens retrospectively, focusing on returning travellers who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Not all specimens can be screened, however. Due to limited genetic material or other technical issues, Alberta Health Services said in March 2021 that roughly 80 to 85 per cent of samples were being successfully screened.

As of May 1, 2021, Alberta Health announced it will stop screening all positive specimens for variants of concern.

The province said the move was necessary in order to maintain turnaround times and capacity in laboratories, which had been falling behind in the wake of the third wave that pushed case counts higher than they had ever been before.

Full screening resumed as of June 1, 2021, as case counts dropped and labs were no longer overwhelmed.

Then in September 2021, amid the surging case counts of the fourth wave, labs scaled back their variant screening again.

As a result of these changes, this next chart offers as complete of a picture as possible of variant spread, but the numbers prior to February 2021, throughout the month of May 2021, and from Sept. 10, 2021 onward are not directly comparable to the rest.

New daily cases of variants of concern in Alberta. Each column represents the number of new cases of a variant of COVID-19 in Alberta on a given day. Dates correspond to the date a specimen was identified as positive (not the day the swab was taken). It takes additional time for a specimen to be screened for variants, so recent days are typically an undercount. Click or tap on the buttons below to switch between variants of concern. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
Alberta hospitals prep for 3rd wave of COVID-19 due to rise in variant numbers Mar 24, 2021
Accelerating spread of COVID-19 variant strain in Alberta worrisome, Calgary infectious disease expert warns Mar 18, 2021

The chart above shows total cases of each variant, by the date they were reported to Alberta Health, and reported as a seven-day moving average.

It can also be helpful to look at each variant relative to the other variants, to understand which versions of the virus are out-competing the others.

The alpha variant became dominant in Alberta in the spring, but later on the delta variant started to gain more and more of a foothold in the province.

This next chart shows each variant of concern, as a percentage of all new variant cases on a given day.

Proportion of new variant COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Cases reported as a 7-day moving average. Due to the time it takes for a positive specimen to then be screened for variants, the most recent 2 days are excluded from this chart. Also, roughly 15-20% of positive specimens cannot be screened for variants because there is not enough virus present in the specimen. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
The lambda COVID-19 variant is now spreading in Canada — here’s what you need to know Jul 8, 2021

The original “wild type” of the virus (which contains no major mutations) still circulates in small numbers, Alberta Health said in June 2021, but variants make up the overwhelming majority of cases.

Alberta Health also breaks down where the variants have been detected, by health zone.

You can see the latest breakdown in this next table. Again, the totals will not reflect the total number of actual variant cases, due to the fact that not all samples are being screened.

Total COVID-19 variants by health zone. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Of course, Alberta is a big province, and outbreaks of the novel coronavirus often happen in localized areas.

At different times throughout the pandemic, different parts of the province have seen different degrees of virus spread.

So it’s useful to look at where new cases, in general, have happened, too.

New cases by health zone

Alberta Health breaks the province down into five broad health zones: South, Calgary, Central, Edmonton and North. (The names are pretty self-explanatory but if you want to see the precise boundaries of each zones, here’s a link to a PDF map).

This next chart shows new cases, by day, broken down by health zone.

New cases reported by day and by health zone. At various times throughout the pandemic, different parts of the province have seen different degrees of spread. So it’s also useful to look at the where the new cases are happening, too. CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Each column in this chart is a “stack” of cases, colour-coded by zone. Each “stack” adds up to the total number of new cases identified that day.

You can see how cases really started ramping up in mid-April 2020 in the Calgary Zone, in particular. This was largely related to the major outbreak at the Cargill slaughterhouse in High River, which is part of the Calgary Zone.

Later that month, you can see a large number of new cases in the South Zone. This was related to the outbreak at the JBS slaughterhouse and the wider outbreak in Brooks, at that time.

In early June 2020, you can see how new cases started growing in the Edmonton Zone again, after very few cases in and around the city for many weeks. The beginning of this trend was initially linked to several family gatherings in the city.

And then in October 2020 onward you can see the late-year surge in cases, which includes all health zones but has been most heavily concentrated in the Edmonton and Calgary areas.

That was followed by the “third wave” in early 2021, which saw the highest daily case counts of the entire pandemic.

So that’s the big picture, but the chart above can be a little hard to read if you’re mainly interested in recent cases.

This next chart shows the same information, but is limited to just the past three weeks, making it easier to see where new cases have been popping up. Tap on the bars or scroll your mouse over them to see specific numbers.

New cases reported by health zone, over the past 3 weeks. Each column in this chart is a “stack” of cases, colour-coded by zone. Tap on the bars or scroll your mouse over them to see specific numbers. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Some of these new cases will require hospitalization, which leads us to the next metric.


While much of the COVID-19 reporting focuses on the number of cases, experts are also closely tracking the number of hospitalizations.

Hospitalization data is more of a lagging indicator, as it typically takes longer for someone who gets sick with COVID-19 to end up in hospital than it does for them to test positive for the virus. There can also be delays in reporting from the hospitals, themselves, further adding to the lag in the aggregated data.

Still, tracking hospitalizations is useful because it not only helps gauge how much the disease has spread but also helps keep track of how much strain is being put on the health-care system. Hospital resources, of course, are finite and, in other parts of the world, COVID-19 cases have pushed those resources to — or beyond — their capacity.

COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals. This next chart shows the number of patients in hospital — both those in intensive care and those outside of an ICU — each day since mid-March. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Prior to the second wave that hit Alberta in late 2020, hospitalizations had not reached a level anywhere near the capacity of Alberta’s critical-care system.

In November 2020, Hinshaw said the province had about 70 ICU beds set aside for COVID-19 patients and, as the number of patients approached that level, she said additional ICU beds could and would be devoted to people suffering from severe effects of the disease.

Alberta Health Services has said it monitors ICU capacity internally and is able to move patients, staff or equipment to match the need. It is also able to expand the overall ICU capacity, if need be, but there would be trade-offs to be made in other areas of the health-care system if that were to happen.

Specialized units — such as those intended for cardiac or neurological patients — can be repurposed for COVID-19 patients, but that would mean they won’t be available for people suffering from heart or brain conditions.

In May 2021, Alberta Health started publishing data on ICU capacity.

Alberta typically has 173 general, adult ICU beds across all its hospitals but, during the pandemic, that capacity has been expanded. The exact capacity on a given day can vary depending on the availability of trained staff.

This next chart shows the typical capacity, the day-to-day expanded capacity, and the number of COVID-19 patients and total patients in ICU.

ICU occupancy and capacity in Alberta. Alberta Health says this data is collected at a “lagged interval” and numbers for a particular date may not match exactly with those reported elsewhere. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
More Albertans are in ICU with COVID-19 than ever — and it’s expected to get worse Sep 13, 2021
Albertans in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are ending up in ICU with COVID-19 faster than ever before Apr 27, 2021

ICU occupancy peaked in May 2021 and then started to decline, as more and more Albertans were vaccinated against COVID-19.

This next chart shows the number of patients in ICU, by their vaccination status:

  • no vaccination.
  • having had a single dose within 14 days of their diagnosis.
  • having had a single dose more than 14 days before their diagnosis.
  • having had a second dose within 14 days of their diagnosis.
  • having had a second more than 14 days before their diagnosis (i.e. being fully vaccinated).

The chart is also annotated to show when one quarter and one half of the total population had received at least one dose, and when half of the population had received two doses.

Number of Alberta COVID-19 patients in ICU by vaccination status. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Hundreds of Albertans have now died of COVID-19 but the rate of deaths has fluctuated throughout the pandemic.

This next chart shows the average number of deaths, by day.

There is often a lag between when a person dies and when it is reported to Alberta Health, so the number of deaths for the most recent few days tends to be under-reported.

COVID-19 deaths in Alberta by date of death (where known). Each column depicts the number of people who died on a given day. Data are subject to change; when the date of death is unavailable, the date reported to Alberta Health is used until a death date is known. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
How Alberta’s COVID-19 death toll turned so grim, so quickly Dec 31, 2020
Alberta’s deadliest day: Province breaks daily record with 20 COVID-19 deaths Nov 16, 2020

The vast majority of deaths have occurred among Albertans over the age of 60, and people over the age of 80 make up more than half of the total deaths, to date.

For a more detailed, age-based breakdown of disease outcomes scroll down to the chart below labelled COVID-19 cases in Alberta, by age and status.

Active and recovered cases

Another term you often hear in discussion of COVID-19 is the number of “active” and “recovered” cases.

In general, Alberta Health says a recovered case is defined as:

  • Anyone who is healthy after 14 days have passed, if they did not experience severe symptoms requiring hospitalization.
  • Anyone who has gone 10 days from their date of discharge from hospital, if they did require hospitalization.
  • Anyone who has received two negative tests, at least 24 hours apart.

This next chart depicts the total number of cases, broken down by the status of the patients: recovered, not-yet-recovered (but not in hospital), hospitalized or deceased.

COVID-19 cases in Alberta by status. Each colour in a column represents the number of recovered, not-yet-recovered, hospitalized and deceased patients. Together, each “stack” adds up to the total number of cases as of that date. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Government of Alberta. Click for a full screen view.

Active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. *Daily case counts are based on PCR testing done by Alberta Health Services, but those testing protocols shifted in late December 2021 so that most people with symptoms are instead being asked to use at-home rapid test kits that aren’t included in official counts. So the true figure is thought to be far higher. Click for a full screen view.

Again, this chart is a “big picture” look at the impact of the disease, provincewide.

But the number of active cases can vary quite a bit from place to place and from time to time.

So this next chart focuses on just the past three weeks, and breaks down the active caseload by health zone.

Active cases by health zone, over the past 3 weeks. This next chart focuses on just the past three weeks, and breaks down the active caseload by health zone. Active cases for the most recent day indicated at right. (Cases with unknown zone excluded). Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.

Beyond these five broad zones, Alberta Health breaks down the geography of the province even further.

It also subdivides those zones in 132 “local geographic areas” or LGAs. You can find more information about these areas here.

The right-hand column in the table below shows the latest active caseload for each of those local areas. The mini line charts in the adjacent column show the caseload history for each area. (Note the scale of vertical axis is not the same for each line chart; it’s specific to each local area’s case history).

Active COVID-19 cases in Alberta by local health area. The table is sorted from highest to lowest and shows 10 local health areas at a time. You can click on the next-page arrows to see more, or use the search function to look for a particular area. The table may not display fully on mobile devices or small screens. In that case, you can also click here to open a standalone version in a new browser tab. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health.

You can also see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map.

Scroll, zoom and click or tap on the map for more detailed information about a particular area.

As you zoom in, the map will display labels showing the actual number of active cases in each local area.

It also shows the population-adjusted active-case rates (cases per 100,000 people) through the background shading. The darker the shade, the higher the rate.

Alberta COVID data by Local Geographic Area. The map shows both the active case numbers (labels that appear when you zoom in) and the active-case rates per population (the background shading). If the map isn’t displaying well on your mobile device, click here for a standalone version. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: City of Calgary, RDEK, Province of Alberta, Province of British Columbia, Esri Canada, Esri, HERE, Garmin, USGS, NGA, EPA, USDA, NPS, AAFC, NRCan.

You might also be wondering how Alberta’s active caseload compares to the rest of the country. This next chart illustrates that.

Active COVID-19 cases by province & territory. The chart shows the rate of active cases (number of cases per 100,000 population) in each province and territory and in Canada, as a whole. Click or tap on the buttons above the chart to switch between the per-capita rate and the absolute number of active cases in each province and territory. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Provincial health authorities & Statistics Canada Table 17-10-0009-01. Click for a full screen view.
Total confirmed cases

The term “flatten the curve” has become a common phrase used by people when referring to stopping the spread of the COVID-19.

One “curve” in particular that people have been paying attention to is the total number of cases.

The red line in this next chart shows the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

Total confirmed cases reported in Alberta. The red line in this next chart shows the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Alberta. The background shading shows various stages of the province’s public-health measures, from the initial pandemic response (colloquially referred to as the “lockdown”) to Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the “re-launch” strategy, to the return of restrictions in late 2020, to the easing of those restrictions in early 2021, to the re-introduction of restrictions after that. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Government of Alberta. Click for a full screen view.
With 2,271 new cases, Alberta tops 200,000 cases of COVID-19 since start of the pandemic May 5, 2021
Alberta tops 100,000 total cases since start of COVID-19 pandemic Dec 30, 2020

When talking about COVID-19 cases, it’s important to bear in mind that the number of confirmed cases doesn’t represent the number of actual cases — a figure we simply don’t know.

Many cases may have gone undetected because people didn’t have symptoms or didn’t seek testing for other reasons. People who have wanted a test haven’t always been able to get them, especially early in the outbreak.

Alberta’s testing protocols have changed significantly over time, leading to changes in which cases of COVID-19 are being caught and included in the provincial data — and those which go uncounted.

How testing has changed over time

In the earliest stages of the outbreak, testing focused on international travellers returning to Alberta and their close contacts.

On March 23, 2020 the province imposed stricter limits on who could get tested, giving a higher priority to those most at risk from COVID-19 and to health-care workers. Given that testing capacity was limited at that time, there were some important reasons for doing this, in order to get the maximum benefit out of the tests that were available. As testing capacity increased again, however, the criteria began to expand.

On April 7, 2020 the province started opening up tests to more symptomatic people, including a wider range of front-line workers such as firefighters, police and public-health inspectors, as well as anyone over the age of 65.

On April 8, 2020 the criteria were further expanded to include anyone with symptoms living in the Calgary health zone, which has seen the majority of cases so far in the province.

On April 14, 2020 the criteria were expanded again to include all Albertans showing symptoms.

Coronavirus tracker: The cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations in your area

On April 17, 2020 Alberta Health said it would further expand testing to include asymptomatic residents and staff in continuing care facilities experiencing outbreaks.

On May 11, 2020 asymptomatic testing was extended to people in the Calgary health zone, due to the high number of cases in the area. Similar asymptomatic testing was later offered in Brooks, as well, after the major outbreak in that city.

On May 29, 2020 asymptomatic testing was expanded to the entire province, meaning any Albertan wanting a test could seek one, even without symptoms of COVID-19.

On Sept. 17, 2020 asymptomatic testing for Albertans with no known exposure was scaled back to include “priority groups” only, such as residents and staff in congregate settings, health-care workers, teachers and other school staff, and people experiencing homelessness.

On Oct. 20, 2020, Dr. Hinshaw said the province would be “pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing in those who have no known exposure.” At that point, she said Alberta had completed more than 659,000 tests, in total, on asymptomatic people with no known exposure and, of those, only 0.11 per cent came back positive.

All these changes have led to major fluctuations in the number of tests being performed and who was being tested.

It’s important to bear these changes in mind when considering another measure health officials track: the positivity rate. This is simply the percentage of tests that come back positive.

This next chart depicts the positivity rate in Alberta over time.

Positivity rate for COVID-19 tests in Alberta. Each dot depicts the percentage of positive tests on a given day. The line shows the average positivity rate over the previous seven days. The most recent daily positivity rate and weekly average is labelled on the right. The background shading and annotations show major changes in the testing protocol over time. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Click for a full screen view.
Age of patients

The age of Albertans who are diagnosed with COVID-19 has varied over the course of the pandemic.

At different times, the disease was being found more often in younger people, older people or middle-aged people due to a variety of factors.

This next chart shows the case rates in five broad age groups.

Because the number of Albertans in each age group varies widely, the rates are expressed in terms of new daily cases per 100,000 people in a given age range, to account for these population differences.

New daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Albertans by age range. Expressed as a 7-day average. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Alberta Health. Cilck for a full screen view.

You’ll notice the case rates among Albertans aged 80+ start to diverge from the other age groups in early 2021, especially in March. At this time, even as case rates rose sharply in the general population, the rate in this age group declined. Alberta Health attributes this difference to the fact that seniors were the first to get widely vaccinated.

We’ve heard that COVID-19 tends to hit older people harder than younger people, and this is true to a large extent but it doesn’t mean young people are immune.

This next chart shows the age ranges of patients who have been hospitalized in Alberta with the disease.

Age of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alberta. The numbers in this chart are cumulative totals that include patients who are still in hospital, those who have been discharged and those who have died. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Government of Alberta. Click for a full screen view.
Albertans diagnosed with COVID-19 are younger and end up in hospital less often. This is likely why April 28, 2020
Age breakdown for confirmed cases in Alberta hospitals shows not just seniors at risk March 30, 2020

The number of people to have died from the disease is much more heavily weighted toward older adults, with most of the deaths among people aged 80 or over. Many of these people have died in long-term care homes.

Age of patients in Alberta, by age and status. This last chart shows the total cases in Alberta, broken down by both the age and status of the patients. Robson Fletcher CBC. Source: Government of Alberta. Click for a full screen view.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly. If you have an idea on how to improve the presentation of these data, or data that you would like to see that’s not here, please email You can also contact Robson on Twitter @CBCFletch and join the discussion there.

Robson Fletcher, Data Journalist
Robson Fletcher’s work for CBC Calgary focuses on data, analysis and investigative journalism. He joined CBC in 2015 after spending the previous decade working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. Follow Robson on Twitter @CBCFletch
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, June 1, 2020

Federal government to fast-track $2.2B to help municipalities.

Alberta reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, nearly double the number of new cases reported Sunday, bringing the total active cases to 400. The Canadian Press NIAID-RML via AP

Playgrounds reopening across Calgary but sports remain prohibited

  • Alberta reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, nearly double the number of new cases reported Sunday, bringing the total active cases to 400.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the increase is a reminder that the pandemic is not over and that precautionary measures will be with us for some time.
  • Two household gatherings in Edmonton are linked to at least 10 cases, which prompted a reminder from Hinshaw that people should not be sharing food or utensils and that it’s best to hold gatherings outdoors where distancing can be easily maintained.
  • More than 1,000 Calgarians took to the streets to protest anti-black racism and police violence. Hinshaw said it’s important that those exercising their democratic right to protest still maintain a two-metre distance from each other and wear masks.
  • Provincial campgrounds will reopen tomorrow, but COVID-19 restrictions will keep half the sites closed.
  • There are 53 people in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care. No additional deaths were reported Monday, leaving the total deaths at 143.
  • Monday marks the start of Seniors’ Week in Alberta, and Hinshaw said it’s more important than ever to support seniors who are especially vulnerable during the pandemic. Of Alberta’s 143 deaths, 138 have been people over 60.
  • Several hard-hit countries are beginning to ease restrictions put in place to tackle the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 6.1 million people worldwide
  • Meet the ‘forgotten Canadians’ stranded in remote corners of the world demanding help to get home.
  • Strange symptoms, flare-ups, weeks-long illnesses for some COVID-19 survivors.
  • The Alberta government has scaled back the provincial COVID-19 news conferences it had been offering every weekday and is now holding them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Planning a Canadian vacation? Some provinces may be off limits

Armed soldiers informed street vendors Sunday that as of Monday, they could no longer be in the street after the mayor of Bogota ordered a strict quarantine in the Kennedy area of the city to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Fernando Vergara, The Associated Press

Why was Alberta’s chief medical officer not consulted in decision to end public health order?


What you need to know today in Alberta

Campgrounds in Alberta’s national parks will remain closed until at least June 21. Alberta Parks Flickr

Campgrounds in Alberta’s national parks will remain closed until at least June 21, but provincial campgrounds will open at half capacity starting tomorrow.

The Alberta government is distributing 20 million masks meant to help limit the spread of COVID-19. They will be available for pick up from the drive-thrus of A&W, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons.

There have been 143 deaths due to COVID-19 in the province. No new deaths were reported Monday.

More than 263,000 tests have been completed.

There are now no active cases in the province’s central health zone.

Most active COVID-19 cases are still found in the Calgary zone. Here’s a regional breakdown of cases:

  •  Calgary zone:  309 active, 4,483 recovered.
  •  Edmonton zone:  44 active, 497 recovered.
  •  South zone:  28 active, 1,202 recovered.
  •  North zone:  17 active, 213 recovered.
  •  Central zone:  0 active, 97 recovered.
  •  Unknown:  2 active, 9 recovered.

This map provides an overview of how COVID-19 has impacted the province of Alberta as of June 1, 2020. CBC News

Across Canada

Sense of helplessness ‘must not paralyze us,’ says Toronto Raptors president. Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the protests around the United States that have followed. The Canadian Press. CBC

The federal government is accelerating infrastructure cash to help struggling municipalities taking a financial hit from COVID-19.

An Alberta woman is scared for her life in Peru, as the death toll rises and the health-care system collapses around her.

A mortgage expert says people who have to sell their homes and have fixed-rate mortgages are being hit hard because of how financial institutions calculate penalties.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees along with Own the Podium unveiled a $5-million investment in a phased return to high-performance sport in a joint statement Monday as much of the sports world remains on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a tally of coronavirus cases and deaths maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there have been about 372,000 deaths to date. The true death toll is believed to be significantly higher, as many victims died of the virus without ever being tested.

The U.S. is still the hardest-hit nation in the world, with almost 1.8 million cases and more than 104,000 deaths. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 26,000 of those deaths are from nursing home residents.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said in a statement on Monday that the generosity of the U.S. government and the American people toward global health has been “immense” and has made “a great difference in public health all around the world.”

“It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue,” Tedros said Monday, as WHO experts discussed the virus, lifting lockdowns and a risk assessment tool for mass gatherings.

In Canada, the epidemic is highly regional, with the vast majority of COVID-19 cases concentrated in parts of Ontario and Québec. As of 6 pm ET on Monday, there were 91,681 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 49,713 of those cases considered recovered or resolved.

A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 7,385.

   Canada and around the world – CBC Timeline
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Self-assessment and support

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to  911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at  811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.

If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

You can find Alberta Health Services latest coronavirus updates here.

The province of Alberta also operates a confidential mental health support line at  1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at  1-866-332-2322, available from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week.

Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.

There is a 24-hour family violence information line at  310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at  1-866-403-8000 from 9 am to 9 pm.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which could lead to death.

How COVID-19 symptoms develop, and how long they last

Alberta expands testing eligibility to anybody showing COVID-19 symptoms

What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

  • Stay at home.
  • Immediately call Tele-Care  811.
  • Describe symptoms and travel history.
  • Follow instructions carefully.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19: A guide to each province and territory

How can I protect myself?
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • When outside the home, keep a minimum of two metres away from other people.
  • For walking, the distance of people moving in the same direction in 1 line should be at least 4–5 meter, for running and slow biking it should be 10 meters and for hard biking at least 20 meters. See Belgian-Dutch Study: Why in times of COVID-19 you should not walk/run/bike close behind each other.
  • Masks won’t fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government web site.

Important reminder
The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.
 Find coronavirus local updates
Your local guide to the coronavirus outbreak. Get the latest advisories, updates and cancellations for where you live.
 Calgary cancellations, closures and other updates.
Report notices to be included by emailing
 Edmonton cancellations, closures and other updates.
Report notices to be included via email
An update on local services and all the ways to access COVID-19 information on CBC News

Everything from a new email destination for your questions to a dedicated page tracking coronavirus cases

Why we can’t tell you the full COVID-19 story – Lives Remembered

CBC News has compiled a wealth of resources on closures and other essential information you need to know to get through this public heath emergency. Ben Nelms CBC

Brodie Fenlon, CBC News Mar 25, 2020 Updated 12:00 pm March 29

We are all involved in a remarkable story.

As we move forward into the next few weeks and what most experts agree will be the most perilous part of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, we must not lose sight of the human face of this crisis.

Canadians are ill and some have died; we will tell their stories.

Canadians are fighting; we will showcase the first responders and health care workers working flat-out to save lives and the challenges they face.

Canadians are worrying; we will get answers, aggregate the best advice and hold our officials to account.

Canadians are helping; we will find the stories of hope and civic generosity that bring communities together.

We are seeing millions of Canadians turn to CBC News daily on TV, radio, digital and social media. Every word we publish, post and broadcast matters in the face of this voracious appetite for trusted news, context and the latest developments.

We cannot afford a misstep, and I’m grateful for the care and diligence that our staff bring to our reporting every day.

This is what public service journalism is all about.

A peek behind the curtain: How CBC staff are covering the pandemic

Some quick highlights from the past two weeks:

  • To manage the thousands of questions we’re getting from Canadians, we have set up a new email destination and will endeavour to answer as many as possible on all of our programs and platforms. Write to
  • We launched a COVID-19 fact checking unit to expose falsehoods and disinformation around the global pandemic. See some of their early work here and here.
  • We made CBC News Network (NN) freely available on cable and digital to all Canadians, here and abroad.
  • We launched a COVID-19 newsletter. It’s already at 48,000 subscribers, our fastest-growing newsletter. A remarkable 70 per cent of users open this daily email. Sign up here.
  • On CBC Radio One, we have extended the Current with Matt Galloway until noon in most time zones in order to provide you with the latest information and updates.
  • Our coronavirus tracker is live. It will give you the latest data on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 as we know them, here and around the world.
  • Our CBC News app will launch an update soon that will contain a COVID-19 guide to help our local audiences access resources, local stories and key video about their community.
  • We’ve compiled local resources and updates for communities across Canada here.
  • We have partnered with Canada’s private broadcasters to pool video coverage of official press briefings across the country in order to space out the number of crews present at any one event.

As I noted in an earlier blog, we temporarily paused our local 6 p.m. newscasts last week and moved quickly to shore up our ability to offer local and national programming on CBC TV and CBC News Network.

That decision was the result of us broadcasting more live events, press conferences and daily video than ever in the history of CBC News, which caused a logjam at our centralized resource desk in Toronto at the exact same time staffing levels there had dropped on account of COVID-19.

We also wanted to get ahead of the staffing crunch we anticipate in the next several weeks as more of our staff in newsrooms across the country are forced to self-isolate, work from home and potentially fall ill.

We are working in new ways with far fewer people available to do the resource-intensive work of television production.

We promised to assess the situation daily and bring the supper hour newscasts back as soon as possible — a commitment we took seriously.

Since last week, we’ve stabilized demands on our resources desk and can now channel some of our social media live streams through new software. We also created redundant systems for our television control rooms and resource work areas.

While it’s certainly not business as usual in these times, we will begin a gradual, staggered return to local news on CBC TV at 6 pm. We started today with the return of a half-hour newscast in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Beginning tomorrow, we will broadcast a half-hour of Compass from P.E.I. and a half-hour Atlantic newscast from Halifax covering Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

We will take it one day at a time, continually adding back where we can while ensuring that nothing jeopardizes the essential services we intend to provide Canadians through to the very end of this crisis.

It’s important to remember that our commitment to local journalism on radio, TV, digital and social remains unchanged.

As always, thank you for your patience and continued support of CBC News at this unprecedented time.

CBC temporarily replaces local evening TV news amid coronavirus pandemic

About the author
Brodie Fenlon is editor in chief and executive director of daily news for CBC News.

Source CBC Calgary


Have you got a news tip tied to the COVID-19 outbreak? You can reach CBC Calgary at or CBC Edmonton here.

Also see
More nuanced approach needed in deciding who gets COVID-19 vaccine amid third wave, say experts University of Alberta
Canada’s Vaccine Mess The Atlantic
Your Neighborhood May Influence Your COVID-19 Risk, Drexel Study Suggests Drexel Univesity
Immunization committee to recommend provinces suspend AstraZeneca use among those under 55: sources CBC
Alberta entering ‘danger zone’ as COVID-19 cases continue to set records, top doctor says CBC
Alberta launches online COVID-19 map to track cases in schools CBC
After decades of systemic issues, time to finally overhaul Alberta long-term care, experts say CBC
The challenge of misinformation during disease outbreaks BMC Series blog
Physical distancing is here for a while – over 100 experts call for more safe walking and cycling space The Conversation

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