Five more Albertans with H1N1 have died, provincial health officials announced yesterday.

Two were from Edmonton, two were from southern Alberta and one was from Calgary.

More were hospitalized across the province over the weekend. The 66 new patients bring the number of those in hospital care up to 546.

Roughly one-third of intensive care patients have H1N1.

In total, 25 Albertans with the virus have died since the pandemic began in April.

“Were aiming to minimize the numbers — as few as possible,” Alberta’s senior medical officer of health Dr. Gerry Predy said yesterday.

Alberta Health services has released little information about the victims, but that one was over 65, two were between 45 and 64, and one was between 20 and 29. All had underlying risk factors.

Between 11 and 90 people have died each year in the past 30 years during flu season.

“It’s often hard to separate the cause of death. When people get influenza, it worsens that condition,” Predy said, adding the margins of people who die from flu alone are slim.

Vaccination clinics will be expanded to additional high-risk groups today, namely, children under 10 with chronic illness and parents and caregivers of infants under six months.

Officials are expecting 237,000 doses of the vaccine to arrive Thursday. So far, 450,000 Albertans have been vaccinated.

Once the second wave of the pandemic has ended, a third is expected to hit Alberta this winter, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Andre Corriveau said.

The H1N1 strain accounts for 99.7 per cent of the influenza subtypes circulating. Roughly 30 per cent of Albertans will be infected in the second wave of the pandemic, Corriveau said.

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