Alberta recorded 1,352 additional cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, as well as an additional 26 deaths related to the disease.

Active provincial cases dropped slightly Saturday, now at 19,260, which is 347 less than Friday’s total. The Edmonton zone remains the area with the most active cases, with 9,174 people with active COVID-19.

On Saturday, all but two of the 26 deaths were seniors, 18 of which were in Edmonton zone.

Those Edmonton zone deaths included eight men in their 80s connected to outbreaks at long-term, acute care or supportive living centres in the province.

Two men in their 90s linked to outbreaks also died from COVID-19.

Also in Edmonton, four women in their 80s, and two in their 90s, all connected to outbreaks, also passed away.

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A woman in her 90s, and a man in his 60s, neither connected to any outbreaks, also died in Edmonton zone.

In Calgary zone, there were a total of six deaths. Two women in their 60s, a man in his 80s, and a woman in her 90s all linked to outbreaks all died. A Calgary zone man and woman in their 80s, neither connected to any outbreaks, also died.

A man in his 70s in North zone, connected to an outbreak at an acute care centre, also died.

A Central zone woman in her 50s connected to an outbreak at an acute care centre was also on the fatality list.

Alberta Health said Saturday that it did not have the names of the specific centres that the deaths were connected to.

The current positivity rate in the province sits at 7.3 per cent.

Hospitalizations rose slightly Saturday, with 777 people in Alberta hospital with the virus, up from 759 Friday. Of the current total, 151 are in intensive care units, 10 more than Friday.

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on social media Saturday that Albertans need to follow the provincial rules as hospitalizations increase.

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This weekend, please continue to limit in-person interactions as much as possible. The decisions we make now will affect our case rates and hospitalizations in the days and weeks to come. (3/4)

— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) December 19, 2020

Health-care providers pivoting, ICUs prepare for more patients

Officials confirmed to Global News Saturday that in Calgary, pediatric nurses are being trained for redeployment at the Peter Lougheed Centre.

Dr. Daniel Niven, an ICU doctor at the Peter Lougheed Centre, said he believes the nurses are well-prepared for the change.

“We’ve seen some pediatric ICU nurses come in and learn the adult ICU trade,” he said. “[Nurses] that are familiar with sick patients acute care, and might just need a little bit of guidance from us with regard to functioning within the ICU.”

Niven added there have also been some emergency physicians who have been redeployed to the centre to help manage the current volumes.

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Alberta to send adults to Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s ICU as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge

Health officials also confirmed Friday that pediatric intensive care unit patients at Edmonton’s children hospital will be moved to accommodate critically ill adults.

Children at the Stollery Children’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) will be moved to the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (PCICU) but “will receive the same high quality care with the same care team.”

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