Alberta's health minister says COVID-19 case growth 'to be expected'

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says there's no reason to panic as the province heads into triple digit total case counts of COVID-19 once again. (File photo.)

Thursday was another day of COVID-19 case increases in Alberta, but health minister Tyler Shandro says there's no reason to panic as the province heads into triple digits once again. 

Alberta announced 106 new cases Thursday. 38 of those were in the Calgary zone, where there's been an alarming 81 per cent increase in the seven day average of new cases. 

Much of that is being driven by those in the 20 to 40-year-old age group. 

"That's to be expected throughout the summer," Shandro said. "The numbers are going to go up and they will go down. Our hospitalizations, those lagging metrics, are still trending in the right direction.

"The message is still that vaccines work. Vaccines are safe and effective and they are our way of getting numbers down."

UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS VULNERABLE

96 per cent of Alberta's cases in 2021 have been in unvaccinated individuals or in those still within a two week window of their first dose.

"We still have more than a million Albertans who don't have a single vaccine in their arm," emergency room physician Joe Vipond said to CTV News. "In particular, anybody less than 12-years-old is not able to get a vaccine, so we still need to protect those people who cannot be vaccinated and those who will not be vaccinated."

Vipond called the case growth "alarming."

"We have had five days of increasingly increasing growth," he said. "That's not a comfortable stat."

The province is hoping its latest initiative to make vaccines as accessible as possible will make a dent in Alberta's relatively low immunization rates. 

A new mobile clinic -- one of only two in the country -- will bring first and second doses to rural communities where uptake is low. 

That will include some hard to reach populations and remotes camps across the province. 

The clinic will start operating next week.