Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean.
|Keep an eye on the numbers|
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.
|COVID-19 school status map. Learn more about COVID-19 in schools in your community. Government of Alberta|
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.
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. And, at this point in the pandemic, Alberta is offering COVID-19 tests to anyone who wants one, so there are fewer concerns about the data being affected by limited testing availability.
This first chart shows us the number of new cases identified each day since mid-March, and a seven-day average of daily new cases.
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.
|New cases by health zone|
Of course, Alberta is a big province, and outbreaks of the novel coronavirus often happen in localized areas.
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.
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. 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 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 in April, 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, 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 you can see the largest surge in cases, which includes all health zones but has been most heavily concentrated in the Edmonton and Calgary areas.
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.
|New cases reported by health zone, over the past 3 weeks. 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. Each column in this chart is a “stack” of cases, colour-coded by zone. Some of these new cases will require hospitalization, which leads us to the next metric. CBC. 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 reporting to date has focused on the number of cases, experts have suggested tracking the number of hospitalizations, as well.
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.
Alberta hospitals had an existing capacity of 295 intensive-care-unit (ICU) beds, in total, prior to upgrades and expansions undertaken in response to the pandemic, according to COVID-19 modelling released by the province.
As of early April, there were 158 ICU beds available for COVID-19 patients. Plans were enacted to expand that availability to as many as 1,081 by late April, if necessary, by adding more beds to existing ICU rooms and converting other hospital space into new ICU capacity.
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.
|Hospitalizations. While much of the reporting to date has focused on the number of cases, experts have suggested tracking the number of hospitalizations, as well. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
To date, hospitalizations have not reached a level anywhere near the capacity of Alberta’s health-care system.
While Alberta Health provides regular updates on the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care, Alberta Health Services (AHS) won’t release similar data on the total number of patients in ICU. As a result, we can’t say exactly how many ICU beds are available at a given time.
CBC News has repeatedly asked for this data but AHS has not been willing to provide it.
AHS 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.
To provide some further context, this next chart shows the hospitalization rate in the four largest provinces.
This is a population-adjusted measure, calculated as the number of patients in hospital per million residents.
| Hospitalization rates in the 4 largest provinces. Note the numbers in the above chart are collected nationally so the dates are slightly different from the Alberta-specific data. These numbers are also sometimes retroactively updated to reflect the latest totals, as new hospital data comes in.
CBC. Click for a full screen view.
|Daily new cases per capita. In July 2020, new cases in Alberta exceeded new cases reported in each of the largest provinces. CBC. 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, per day, reported as a seven-day average.
|Deaths per day from COVID-19 in Alberta. 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. Click for a full screen view.|
|Alberta’s deadliest day: Province breaks daily record with 20 COVID-19 deaths CBC November 16, 2020|
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. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
|As pandemic rages, Alberta now has 7,965 active cases of COVID-19. CBC November 9, 2020|
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.
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. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
|Active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta reach highest level since May 12|
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, by default, but you can change the sorting by clicking on the column header of area names so they are sorted alphabetically, instead. 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.|
|Alberta COVID data by Local Geographic Area. The map shows both the active case numbers (the purple dots) 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. ESRI. Robson Fletcher CBC|
|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. You can 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. CBC. 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.
Early in the outbreak, the number of cases was growing rapidly, with the total doubling every three days.
Later on, that rate of growth started to slow, and the curve “flattened” — to a degree. The outbreaks at the slaughterhouses in High River and Brooks, in particular, shot it back up again, as have smaller, localized outbreaks in other areas.
The red line in this next chart shows the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Alberta, starting from the first day that 50 total cases were recorded.
|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. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
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, 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, 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, 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, the criteria were expanded again to include all Albertans showing symptoms.
On April 17, Alberta Health said it would further expand testing to include asymptomatic residents and staff in continuing care facilities experiencing outbreaks.
On May 11, 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, 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, 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, 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|
|Age of patients|
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. 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. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
|Age breakdown for confirmed cases in Alberta hospitals shows not just seniors at risk|
|Albertans diagnosed with COVID-19 are younger and end up in hospital less often. This is likely why|
This last chart shows the total cases in Alberta, broken down by both the age and status of the patients.
|Age of patients in Alberta, by age and status. This next chart shows the total cases in Alberta, broken down by both the age and status of the patients. CBC. Click for a full screen view.|
|Robson’s work for CBC Calgary focuses on data analysis and investigative journalism. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Robson on Twitter @CBCFletch and join the discussion there.|
|What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, June 1|
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.
- 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.
|What you need to know today in Alberta|
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.
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.
- Changing of the guard at Bank of Canada adds to COVID-19 uncertainty: Don Pittis.
- Ontario reports 404 new COVID-19 cases as testing drops below target again.
- Manitoba watches COVID-19 numbers as it cautiously reopens economy.
- Pandemic-related restaurant closures take an emotional and financial toll.
|Canada and around the world – CBC Timeline|
|2019–20 coronavirus pandemic data/Canada medical cases. Wikipedia|
|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.
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:|
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which could lead to death.
|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.
|How can I protect myself?|
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government web site.
|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.|
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|Edmonton cancellations, closures and other updates.|
|Report notices to be included via email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|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
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.
- 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 COVID@cbc.ca
- 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.
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.
|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 email@example.com or CBC Edmonton here.|
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