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6 months since its first case, Alberta’s COVID-19 numbers keep rising

It’s easy to look at data from the beginning of the pandemic and think things aren’t as bad as they were then. However, the number of cases of COVID-19 isn’t decreasing.

This past Sunday marked 6 months since Alberta reported its first case of COVID-19, a woman in her 50s living in the Calgary Zone.

In the half a year since then, Alberta has seen a total 15,093 cases, with 247 of them resulting in death. Only 1,086 cases were a result of travelling, and 2,297 cases involved patients being exposed to the virus without being aware of when, where, or from whom.

Here’s a graph of all new COVID-19 cases over the last 6 months, charted each day.

You can clearly see the first wave on the left of the graph, developing through March and much of April, then starting to level off leading into May.

The first wave officially ended on 25 May, when the number of new cases hit a low of only 13. It was the first time since 17 March that it was that low.

However, it’s also not been that low again. The number of daily new cases in Alberta has continued trending upwards (which the graph above clearly shows), particularly two weeks after Canada Day, when we passed 100 new cases again for the first time in 2.5 months.

Since that time, Alberta has consistently seen cases of 100 and above, the lowest being 45 on 9 August. In fact, in the 55 days between 15 July—when we passed the 100 mark again—and 6 September, we’ve averaged 110 cases every day, with only 20 of those days being below 100, just 1 below 60, and 5 over 150. The highest during that period was on 29 August, when we saw 189 cases.

Take a look at this graph, which shows daily new cases since 25 May.

It’s even clearer here that the daily new cases keeps increasing. Certainly, they’re not increasing at the same rate as they were in March and April, but they’re still increasing.

Here are the daily averages over the last 3 months, just to see the data from another perspective.

Daily average
June38.2
July90.5
August101.4

We’re still only a few days into September, so the data sample isn’t as large as the other months yet, but our average so far this month is 144.8 new cases every day. And remember, it could be as long as two weeks before symptoms show up, which means we haven’t seen cases from back-to-school exposure yet.

Another way to look at this data is that prior to 25 May, when we reached our lowest point since the pandemic began, we had a total of 6,807 cases. Since 25 May, we’ve had 8,149 cases. Although the first graph above makes it seem as though the worst of the pandemic was in the first two months, we’ve actually had over 1,300 more total cases after 25 May than we had prior to 25 May.

It’s easy to look at the first chart and think things aren’t as bad because the bars aren’t as high. And it’s true that the bars aren’t as high, but that’s because the cases are spread out through a wider timeframe.

One thing we can be sure of, however, is that the number of cases of COVID-19 is not decreasing in Alberta.

On a positive note, we’re actually having fewer people dying.

Deaths
March36
April91
May23
June13
July62
August17

Even though July had the second highest number of deaths during the pandemic, the period after 25 May saw only 99 deaths, compared to the 148 before that date.

Granted, it’s still 99 people who died.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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