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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, April 26

AstraZeneca-Oxford walk-in vaccinations will no longer be available in most of Alberta, as active COVID-19 cases surge above 20,000 for the first time since the December peak and Alberta leads the country in per capita cases.

Alberta surpasses 20,000 active COVID-19 cases as 3rd wave continues to grow

Mario Alonso Mejia Garcia, 56, receives his first COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton in April. (AHS)

The latest COVID-19 numbers and restrictions:

  • Alberta's plans to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to about 15,000 workers at meat-packing plants across the province will start Tuesday, provincial Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday. 
  • The province is easing COVID-19 restrictions at long-term care centres starting on May 10, allowing each resident to designate up to four friends or family members as visitors. Premier Jason Kenney said hospitalizations in those facilities have decreased by 93 per cent since active cases in care homes peaked in December. 
  • Alberta's total active cases rose to 20,610 on Monday, up from 20,136 on Sunday and quickly closing in on the previous high of 21,138 hit at the height of the second COVID-19 wave in December.
  • About 42 per cent of the active cases are in Calgary and another 28 per cent in Edmonton, although there are cases throughout the province. (See details and map at the bottom of this story.)
  • Alberta leads the country by far in per-capita cases, with about 454 cases per 100,000 — nearly double the second highest, Ontario, which has 275 cases per 100,000.
  • Alberta reported 1,495 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.
  • 160,617 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 64 per cent of total active cases.
  • There are now 616 people in hospital, up from 594. There are 145 people with COVID-19 in intensive care. Seven more people have died, including a woman in her 20s in Edmonton, for a total of 2,074 deaths.
  • The provincial positivity rate is 10 per cent, and the R-value is 1.04.
  • There are more than 700 active cases of COVID-19 tied to outbreaks at oil camps in northern Alberta. 
  • There were alerts or outbreaks at 612 schools — 25 per cent of all schools in Alberta — with 3,502 cases since Jan. 11. 
  • 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, AHS said Thursday.

(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:

  • Starting this week, Alberta will start vaccinating about 15,000 workers at the province's 136 meat-packing plants, using a combination of on-site and community locations, Shandro said Monday. 
  • The province is expanding the number of people eligible due to underlying health conditions. Now, youth born between 2006 and 2009 with qualifying conditions can book appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
  • While the vaccine is not yet approved for that age range by Health Canada, Alberta is allowing the vaccine for off-label use in following with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
  • Walk-in appointments for the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot will no longer be available to most Albertans starting Monday, Alberta Health Services said, as active COVID-19 cases surged above 20,000 in the province. 
  • Only Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray will continue to have walk-in opportunities on a first-come, first-served basis for the next few days.
  • The AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccination efforts gained enormous traction when eligibility was widened Tuesday to include healthy Albertans ages 40 to 55, as many gen-Xers inundated vaccination sites and celebrated by posting vaccination selfies. Prior to that, when it was only open to eligible Albertans ages 56 to 64, thousands of vaccination appointments went unused amid reports of vaccine hesitancy among the older cohort.
  • Eligible Albertans wanting an AstraZeneca shot can 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.
  • 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. Correctional facility staff and inmates are also eligible, as well as staff and residents at shelters.
  • Other groups in 2C — such as support staff at workplaces that are at risk for large outbreaks like meat-packing plants and front-line policing, as well as residents at group homes and caregivers of Albertans at risk of severe outcomes — are expected to begin in the following weeks. 
  • 1,419,188 vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta as of April 25, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford.
  • 274,289 Albertans have been fully immunized (2 doses).
  • As of Monday, 83 per cent of Albertans age 75 and up have received at least one vaccine dose, and 24 per cent of those ages 40 to 49 have received at least one dose. 

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • Alberta announced its first COVID-19 case linked to the B1617 variant on Thursday, the variant fuelling the case surge in India.
  • There were 1,542 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Monday. Variants now comprise 64 per cent of all active cases. 
  • There are 13,187 active variant cases, while 12,791 people have recovered and 73 people had died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 25,247 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, 71 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 732 cases linked to variant P1, now spreading in Brazil.

Alberta identified first case of B1617 variant

CBC News Edmonton

14 days ago
1:59
Alberta has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 linked to the B1617 variant fuelling a surge of cases in India. 1:59

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • The Government of B.C. is restricting all non-essential travel into or out of all health authority regions, effective immediately. 
  • The legal orders are meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, and will be in effect in B.C. until May 25 — the end of the May long weekend.
  • Those who contravene the legal order in B.C. — including Albertans — may be subject to a $575 fine, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Friday.
  • The federal government said Thursday that it will ban passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days amid rising COVID-19 case counts in India and concerns about mutations of the coronavirus.
  • 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.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Alberta provided limited data on Wednesday due to a technical issue. Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Monday:

  • Calgary zone: 8,491 active cases, up from 8,383 reported on Sunday (63,472 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 5,850, up from 5,700 (59,542 recovered).
  • North zone: 2,883, up from 2,866 (15,929 recovered).
  • South zone: 983, up from 966 (8,895 recovered).
  • Central zone: 2,341, up from 2,165 (12,761 recovered).
  • Unknown: 62, up from 56 (18 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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