COVID-19 in Alberta: 349 new cases, 1 death on Friday as hospitalizations hit 3-month low

Alberta reported 349 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Friday, as hospitalizations due to the coronavirus hit a three-month low. 

Friday was the third straight day the number of new cases has declined after being in the 200s the three days before. 

The death was of a person in their 70s living in the North health zone. 

There are now 395 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 78 in intensive care units. The last time Alberta had fewer than 400 coronavirus patients in hospital was on Aug. 28. 

Also on Friday, Alberta reported one more case of the Omicron variant, bringing the province's total number of cases of the new variant up to four. 

Vaccination data was unavailable on Friday due to a technical issue, but unvaccinated Albertans remain several times more likely to suffer a severe outcome after contracting COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Alberta’s next data update is scheduled for Monday afternoon and will include data from Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

OTHER COVID-19 RELATED NEWS 

An Alberta mayor believes Canada Post's vaccine policy is the impetus behind local staff shortages. The post office in Lamont was closed earlier in the week, and later reopened thanks to outside workers. 

Alberta Health Services says more health-care workers are accessing the mental health supports it offers amid abuse and poor treatment on the front line. 

Documents obtained by the Alberta NDP show Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was left as the acting health minister when COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in August while the premier and then-health minister Tyler Shandro vacationed. Government press secretaries said both Shandro and Premier Jason Kenney were working during their holidays. 

The City of Calgary will provide free rapid tests to its unvaccinated employees, its hand forced by the police department which made the same decision first. 

Booster COVID-19 vaccine appointments opened to Albertans aged 60 and older on Thursday. 

As COVID-19 testing rules for travellers change, confusion has grown at airports needing to carry them out, including Edmonton International Airport.