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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, April 22

As new cases of COVID-19 hit their highest level in more than four months, the Alberta government plans to change employment standards to give workers three hours of paid leave to get vaccinated against the illness.

Alberta workers will be given 3 hours of paid leave to get vaccinated

Carlos Herrera waits after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary on April 6, 2021. (Leah Hennel/AHS)

The latest COVID-19 numbers and restrictions:

  • Alberta reported 1,857 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday— with a testing positivity rate of 10.7 per cent — as the province continues to record case counts in the range seen last December, during the height of the pandemic's second wave.
  • Due to an increase in the number of Albertans in the Calgary zone requesting a COVID-19 test, it may take three to five days from the time someone makes a request to when testing occurs, according to AHS.
  • Alberta's total active cases now sits at 19,182, up from 18,873 on Wednesday.
  • About 43 per cent of the active cases were in Calgary, while over a quarter were in Edmonton.
  • More than 155,851 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
  • The more dangerous and highly transmissible variant cases continue to surge and are now the dominant strains of the virus in Alberta, accounting for 60 per cent of total active cases.
  • There are 518 people in hospital, up from 476 people on Tuesday. There are 116 people with COVID-19 in intensive care. Six more people have died, for a total of 2,054 deaths.
  • The provincial positivity rate is 10.7 per cent, and the R-value is 1.09.
  • There were alerts or outbreaks at 612 schools — 25 per cent of all schools in Alberta — with 3,502 cases since Jan. 11

(Note the latest daily count of new cases in the above chart will usually vary slightly from the net new cases Alberta Health announces each day. For more on why, click here.)

The latest on vaccines:

  • As of April 19, the most recent update, Alberta had received 1,456,295 vaccine doses from the federal government. By April 20, the province had distributed 1,232,925 of those doses.
  • As of Wednesday, 1,275,287 doses of COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford) have been administered in Alberta. There are now 252,422 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.
  • On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney thanked eligible Albertans ages 40-55 for their overwhelming response in signing up to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, after an additional 575,425 people in that age group were made eligible to book on Tuesday.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, gets her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Tuesday, while Premier Jason Kenney is getting his later in the week. 'I am protecting myself, my family & my community. AZ remains a smart choice if you are 40+ & not part of phase 2B/C so you can get your vaccine quickly,' Hinshaw tweeted. (AHS)
  • People wanting a shot can also book through the AHS online booking tool and through Health Link 811. Many pharmacies are also taking bookings, although some haven't received the vaccine.
  • The Alberta government announced Wednesday it plans to change employment standards to allow workers three hours of paid leave to get vaccinated against the illness.
  • Alberta officials say they are battling some hesitancy brought on by reports of extremely rare blood clots occurring in people who have received AstraZeneca, also known as Covishield.
  • The risk of a blood clot is exponentially higher for people who become infected with COVID-19 than for those who receive AstraZeneca, Dr. Deena Hinshaw has repeatedly stressed.
  • About one in four people hospitalized with COVID-19 get blood clots, she said, while Canada has seen just two cases of blood clots associated with more than 700,000 AstraZeneca doses given out. 
  • People are far more likely to experience blood clots from smoking, falls/injuries and other common occurrences.
  • Conversely, AstraZeneca's first dose reduces infection by 60 to 70 per cent, and hospitalization and risk of death is reduced by 80 per cent. 
  • Meanwhile, Phase 2C of the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines began on April 12, expanding to include 240,000 nurses, doctors, dentists and any health-care workers in patient care facilities or providing direct patient care in the community.
  • Other groups in 2C — such as residents and support staff at congregate living facilities at risk for large outbreaks like correctional facilities, homeless shelters, meat-packing plants and group homes, and caregivers of Albertans at risk of severe outcomes — are expected to begin in the following weeks. 

Kenney urges all eligible Albertans to get vaccinated

2 years ago
Duration 2:09
Premier Jason Kenney is urging all eligible Albertans to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, even if it is not their first-choice vaccine. “This vaccine works,” he says of AstraZeneca.

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • Alberta has confirmed its first COVID-19 case linked to the B1617 variant, first identified in Denmark and fuelling the case surge in India. Hinshaw is calling it a "variant of interest."

  • There were 1,326 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Wednesday. Variants now comprise 60 per cent of all active cases. 

  • As of Wednesday there were 11,418 active variant cases, 9,782  people had recovered and 61 people had died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 20,654 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, 59 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 548 cases linked to variant P1, now spreading in Brazil.

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • Edmonton will spend $12 million this year on COVID-19 specific initiatives to help the city cope with and move past the pandemic, city council agreed Wednesday. 
  • On April 6, the Alberta government reimposed Step 1 restrictions, including closing restaurants and bars to in-person dining, lowering retail store capacity to 15 per cent and banning low-intensity group fitness activities.
  • Communities on both sides of the Alberta-B.C. border are bracing for travel restrictions that the B.C. government says will come Friday.
  • B.C. Premier John Horgan said Monday that travel restrictions would be in place through the Victoria Day weekend in May.
  • Edmonton and Fort McMurray public and Catholic schools have shifted all students in grades 7 to 12 to online learning for two weeks, after Calgary public and Catholic schools did the same Monday.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Alberta only provided limited data on Wednesday due to a technical issue, and said detailed updates would resume the following day. Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province:

  • Calgary zone: 8,380, up from 8,098 reported on Tuesday (61,322 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 5,102, up from 4,899 (58,370 recovered).
  • North zone: 2,708, up from 2,543 (15,245 recovered).
  • South zone: 970, up from 969 (8,613 recovered).
  • Central zone: 1,994, up from 1,900 (12,284 recovered).
  • Unknown: 28, down from 72 (17 recovered).

You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information:

Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

How Alberta compares to other provinces and territories:

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