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COVID-19 modelling data released

Alberta Health’s modelling projections indicate total cases range from 800,000 to one million infections, from mild and undiagnosed to detected, confirmed and treated, under two provincial scenarios. The Government of Alberta is advising that existing public health orders could be in place until the end of May to protect the health and safety of Albertans.

“I know these numbers can be overwhelming. But these models are not a done deal. I want Albertans to see them as a challenge. Perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation. The modelling helps us anticipate and prepare for the demands on Alberta’s health-care system so we can ensure we are prepared to support patients at the peak of the pandemic and beyond.” Jason Kenney, Premier

Both scenarios estimate that after the virus reaches its peak, the number of cases will decline over the summer months. Without any provincial interventions to manage the pandemic response, projections show that about 13,000 Albertans could have been hospitalized with 3,900 requiring intensive care.

“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our healthcare system. Our government has taken and continues to take aggressive measures to make sure the health-care system is ready”. Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

The modelling helps us anticipate and prepare for the demands on Alberta’s health-care system. Alberta Health has been scaling up the capacity of the province’s health care system by expanding the capacity of hospitals, opening up more acute care beds, intensive care unit spaces, and ventilators. These measures will ensure that under both provincial scenarios, our health-care system is prepared to support patients at the peak of the pandemic.

 “We are actively increasing capacity in Alberta Health Services facilities by postponing non-urgent surgeries and diagnostic imaging, reducing a number of non-emergency services offered in hospitals, relocating patients to continuing care spaces where possible, and enhancing the use of videoconferencing and telephone care to connect physicians and health professionals with patients remotely. With these measures, and because of the hard work of our front-line health-care workers – our nurses, doctors and those who support them – we are well-positioned to manage the probable impacts of COVID-19 in the coming months.” Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • The model uses several key assumptions, including:

    • not all cases are detected

    • transmission is more common within an age group, rather than between age groups

    • there is no asymptomatic transmission

    • people are infectious for five to 10 days

    • all ICU patients require ventilation

    • overall 14 per cent of cases are hospitalized and 5 per cent require ICU, but this varies significantly by age

  • All Albertans have a responsibility to help prevent the spread. Take steps to protect yourself and others:

    • Practise social distancing.

    • Stay home and away from others if sick or in mandatory self-isolation.

    • Practise good hygiene – wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face.

    • Monitor for symptoms, such as cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing.

  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit


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