'No margin for error': Albertans look for immediate impact from restrictions as COVID-19 cases climb
As Alberta's latest round of COVID-19 health measures take hold, experts are predicting a dicey stretch — but there is reason to believe case numbers could soon decrease.
The number of daily new cases reported has been above 1,300 for two and a half weeks, but the rolling average is somewhat levelling off.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Craig Jenne says he's hoping new rules around masking and mandatory vaccination will make an even bigger dent on the figures.
"We simply have no margin for error," he said. "There's no room, no care left. We need to make sure these numbers stop rising and begin to decline rapidly."
The province's health care system has taken a major hit in September.
COVID-19 patients are flooding the facilities and surge capacity is quickly filling.
Help is on the way from Ottawa, but even as case numbers climb, Albertans will likely still be facing another week of growing hospital admissions.
Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, which means they'll take longer to be impacted by the new restrictions. But, in other jurisdictions, similar health measures were able to bring hospital admissions and ICU numbers to a manageable level.
In British Columbia, rapidly-climbing cases were all but levelled out by a strict vaccine passport mandate.
Alberta's newest round of rules are less stringent, but experts believe they'll still have an effect on what is becoming a dire situation.
"(Alberta's) rate of growth has declined to, instead of five or six per cent a day, down to two per cent a day," said Dean Karlen of the B.C. Modelling Group.
"So that's in the right direction. In British Columbia, we were growing at two per cent a day about a month ago. Now we're down to zero."
Still, Jenne says there's no reason to become complacent.
"We're hoping that this means we're starting to plateau," he told CTV News. "But this plateau is still unmanageably high."