Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw took the time to address rumours about the COVID-19 vaccine during her update on September 23, 2021. 

“Albertans who have not been fully vaccinated are about 15 times more likely than those have vaccine protection to end up in the hospital from COVID-19. They are about 40 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU. About 77 per cent of Albertans in hospital with COVID are not fully vaccinated and 92 per cent of those in the ICU right now have not had both shots,” said Hinshaw. 

In addition to those statistics Hinshaw maintained that vaccines have proved to be 85 per cent effective against the Delta variant and remain effective at preventing severe complications. She noted that some Albertans have been claiming that the vaccines are not working as well as intended because some of those who are fully vaccinated have been ending up with serious complications, due to the virus. However, she claimed those who are vaccinated and end up in hospital with COVID continue to be a small number of people. 

“A very small percentage of fully vaccinated people could still get COVID if they are exposed to the disease. These are called ‘vaccine breakthrough’ cases and although the risk of severe illness is much less in these cases. It is important to remember that some people have conditions that mean their body cannot fully respond to doses of vaccines. That’s why preventing these breakthrough cases requires the rest of us to participate in forming a protective shield around them and may necessitate a booster for some individuals,” explained Hinshaw. 

In addition to squashing misconceptions about the vaccine, Hinshaw took the time to address a peculiar event that has been reported that ended in serious consequences. 

“While I have not received confirmation that this event took place, reports began circulating yesterday of an event where several people were said to have gathered in a deliberate attempt to acquire COVID-19. In order to develop post-infection immunity. It is being reported that several of these individuals ended up in hospital and in already crowded Edmonton ICUs,” said Hinshaw. 

Hinshaw says ending up in hospital was a likely outcome of that sort of event. She called hosting an event where the intent is to get COVID ‘irresponsible' when Alberta’s health care system is in crisis. 

Situations in Alberta’s ICUs remain dire

President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, Dr. Verna Yiu provided information on Alberta’s hospital and ICU capacity. 

“As of early afternoon, there are 310 Albertans in ICU of which 226 patients have COVID-19. We have never ever had that number of total patients in ICU before, never with the prior waves, and never with the history of this province,” said Yiu. 

Recently AHS has seen admissions of more than 20 patients with COVID daily and not all of them are making it out alive. 

“It’s tragic that we are only able to keep pace with these sorts of numbers because some of our ICU patients have passed away. This reality has a deep and lasting impact on our ICU teams,” said Yiu. 

Yiu admitted that she and several staff have been working tirelessly to create new ICU capacity daily in order to accommodate the need for critical health care in the province. 

“As of noon, we have 350 ICU beds available across the province. Which keeps our ICU capacity at 89 per cent. We’ve added 170 surge spaces which means that we have more than doubled our baseline of ICU beds. Without those additional beds our capacity would be at 179 per cent,” said Yiu.

September 22nd new case numbers:

  • 1,660 new cases of the virus for September 21st
  • 20,180 active cases in Alberta
  • 1,058 people are hospitalized
  • 226 people in ICU with the virus
  • 17 deaths in the last 24 hours due to the virus
  • 2,611 total deaths from the virus

Active case numbers in the Central Alberta area:

  • 139 active cases in the City of Lacombe
  • 191active cases in the County of Lacombe
  • 762 active cases in the City of Red Deer
  • 338 active cases in the County of Red Deer
  • 269 active cases in the County of Ponoka
  • 133 active cases in the Town of Sylvan Lake
  • 140 active cases in the County of Stettler

**Not all cases in the Central Zone have been included.