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Most who tested positive for variant at Calgary hospital had mild symptoms: AHS

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CALGARY — Most people who tested positive at a Calgary hospital for the more contagious COVID-19 variant first reported in India had mild symptoms, except one person who was admitted into intensive care.

Several people connected to the Delta variant outbreak at Foothills Medical Centre were also fully immunized before testing positive, health officials confirmed earlier in the week. 

Sixteen patients on two units of the hospital tested positive for the variant, as well as six health-care workers.

"It's important to remember that even after immunization, it’s still possible to contract COVID-19," Kerry Williamson, spokesman for Alberta Health Services, said in an email Friday.

"However, if immunized with either one or two doses, people are less likely to experience severe illness or require hospitalization."

Williamson could not say if the person who needed treatment in ICU was vaccinated.

He said of those infected with the variant, six patients and five health-care workers were fully immunized with two doses of vaccine. Seven patients and one health-care worker had one dose.

Three patients were not immunized, Williamson said. 

He added that everyone was past the 14-day window after vaccination.

"(The vaccines) are about 33 per cent effective against the Delta variant after the first dose and rise to more than 80 per cent after the second dose," Williamson said. "Which is why it’s so important to get immunized, with both first and second doses."

Earlier in the day, Premier Jason Kenney said the Delta variant "does not appear to be growing at an alarming rate to date."

He said the variant is a concern in the United Kingdom, where it’s spreading mostly among younger people who haven’t been vaccinated.

"We have to keep an eye on this, but I’m confident … that with the breadth of the vaccine rollout we are going to be able to prevent negative health outcomes from the Delta variant."

The province also reported Friday that there were 3,529 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta and, of those, 170 were new.

There were also three new deaths, bringing the total to 2,265 since the pandemic began last year.

And there were 296 people in hospital with the virus, with 79 of them in intensive care. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press