Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, April 3
Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta is now in the third wave of COVID-19
The latest COVID-19 numbers:
- Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that Alberta is now in the third wave of COVID-19.
- Alberta reported an estimated 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday with a nine per cent positivity rate, up from an estimated 1,100 new cases the previous day. This week marks the first time the province has reported more than 1,000 cases since early January.
- The province is only reporting preliminary data over the long weekend, and full data updates will resume Monday.
- The Alberta government is not considering further public-health restrictions at this time, unlike some other provinces like Ontario, which imposed a provincewide "emergency brake" starting Saturday. Kenney did ask people to stay home and stick to their household cohorts over Easter, after weeks of increasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and cases caused by variants of concern — which hit a new record high on Wednesday.
- Hinshaw recently warned that nearly half of recent COVID-19 transmissions were being spread through households. She warned Albertans not to treat the household spread as inevitable and reminded people that free hotel rooms are available if they can't isolate at home.
- She also warned that the coronavirus has been spreading because some aren't following public health rules at restaurants, bars, fitness centres, work and social gatherings.
- Under the current restrictions, indoor social gatherings are limited to household members only and outdoor social gatherings can have up to 10 people, but must follow all public health rules about masks and physical distancing. The rules are enforceable with $1,000 fines.
- As of Thursday the number of active cases in the province was 8,653 — more than double a low of just over 4,000 in February and the highest count since Jan. 25.
- The province's rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines expanded to Phase 2B Tuesday, which will eventually open it up to more than 945,000 Albertans born in the birth years 1957 to 2005 (16 to 64) with underlying health conditions. However, not all in that group were eligible right away: only those born between 1957 and 1963 were eligible as of Tuesday. (See vaccine section below for more details.)
- The province is also testing a rapid immunization clinic in Red Deer that gets shots in arms twice as fast as a traditional site. It could serve as a model for other regions in Alberta.
- In total, as of Thursday, Alberta had recorded 149,207 cases with 149,207 recovered and 1,994 deaths.
- There were 292 people in hospital with the disease, 59 of them in intensive care. The province said as of Saturday, hospitalizations were stable.
(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.)
- Another 13,610 coronavirus tests were reported Thursday.
- The R-value was 1.09 in the province, meaning that each person who tests positive will infect more than one other person.
- The government warns that until most Albertans are protected, fully vaccinated people must still follow all health measures, including participating in no indoor gatherings, keeping two metres apart, wearing a mask in public and staying home when sick.
- Those living in Calgary who need support and advice in a different language can access a multi-lingual hotline that was recently extended into April by calling 1-833-217-6614.
The latest on more dangerous variants:
- Alberta hit a new record of 550 new cases involving variants of concern on Saturday, up from the previous record of 322 new cases on Thursday. It accounds for 35 per cent of active cases.
- The province is only reporting preliminary data over the weekend. The total number of variant cases was 4,377 on Thursday, of which 2,820 were active.
- On Saturday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw posted on social media that the provicne is investigating a significant outbreak involving the variant of concern that was first identified in Brazil. Alberta Health would not say where that outbreak is located or how many cases are tied to it.
- Alberta has been contending with rising hospitalization numbers and a surge in cases linked to variants of concern — trends that have delayed plans for further easing public health restrictions.
- A briefing being prepared for the Ontario government suggests the variants substantially increase the risk of serious illness and death when compared to earlier dominant strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
- Of those cases of variants of concern, 1,532 people are deemed to have recovered while 25 have died.
- Hospitals in Alberta are preparing for a third wave of the pandemic, driven by these more aggressive variants of the coronavirus.
- Almost all variant-of-concern cases in Alberta are the variant first identified in the U.K. (B117).
The latest on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines:
- As of Thursday's update, 653,010 doses of vaccines have been administered, and 103,926 Albertans have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
- Alberta moved this week to Phase 2B of the vaccination rollout, opening up more appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in a staggered rollout that started Tuesday.
- Who's eligible in Group 2B:
- Albertans born 2005 to 1957 (16 to 64) with eligible high-risk underlying health conditions like chronic conditions affecting certain organs and those suffering from cancer. For the full list of health conditions see here. However, not everyone can book right away: see below.
- How to book if you're in Group 2B:
- Bookings will open by birth year. Additional years added as more vaccines arrive.
- Starting March 30: Born 1957-63 can book through participating pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer (more pharmacies will be added in coming weeks)
- Starting April 5: Born 1957-59 can book through AHS (online or 811).
- Who's eligible in Group 2B:
- Those in Group 2A, which started on March 15, are still eligible. Group 2A includes:
- Albertans born 1947 to 1956 (turning 65 to 74), no matter where they live. They can book through participating pharmacies or AHS (online or 811).
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) people born 1971 or earlier (turning 50+), no matter where they live.
- On-reserve or on-settlement: Book through local clinics.
- Off-reserve or off-settlement: Book through participating pharmacies or AHS (online or 811).
- Staff and residents of licensed seniors supportive living facilities not included in Phase 1. Do not book, as AHS will contact facilities directly.
- Alberta's vaccination rollout began in December, with a focus on acute care sites with the highest COVID-19 capacity concerns in Edmonton and Calgary. All residents in long-term care and designated supportive living had received their second shot of the vaccine by late February.
- You can also still book your shots at participating pharmacies and AHS if you're in Group 1B, which began on Feb. 24 to all Albertans born in 1946 or earlier (turning 75 and older this year).
- Alberta Health confirmed last Thursday that about 74 per cent of Albertans aged 75 and older had received at least one shot of their vaccinations.
- If you're in that group and haven't booked your shot, they're still available at participating pharmacies and AHS.
- Group 2C will likely start between April and June, subject to vaccine supply, and will include:
- A wider swath of health-care professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and support staff.
- Designated support persons for those living in continuing care.
The latest on AstraZeneca-Oxford/Covishield vaccine:
- On March 10, Alberta began to offer the AstraZeneca-Oxford/Covishield vaccine as an option for adults who do not have a severe chronic illness in a staggered rollout to:
- Albertans born 1957 to 1971.
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) persons born 1972 to 1976.
- However, Alberta said Monday that it had temporarily paused the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for those under age 55 in order to gather more data about a potential increased risk for blood clots.
- About 900 people under age 55 had received the AstraZeneca shot in Alberta by Monday, Hinshaw said, but they aren't considered to be at an increased risk for blood clots.
- She said there had been no incidents in Alberta or in Canada, but recommended that anyone who received it monitor their health — and call their health-care provider if they experience seizures, or an arm or leg that goes pale, cold or turns colour.
- Healthy Albertans who are eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine but don't want it can choose to wait until Phase 2D begins, which the government says will likely be in May or June, depending on supply.
The latest on reopening and restrictions:
- Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday that Alberta is not considering imposing further restrictions at this time, despite weeks of surging COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and cases caused by variants of concern.
- A week earlier, Hinshaw warned that additional public health restrictions could be necessary in Alberta if there was a continued increase in variant cases — which along with increasing overall case numbers were the main factors cited by the government on March 22, when it postponed moving to Stage 3 of reopening.
- According to the provincial plan, to move to Step 3 there must be fewer than 300 people in hospital, and that total must be declining. As of late, hospitalizations have been rising.
- Under the current restrictions, all indoor social gatherings are limited to household members only.
- People who live alone can have up to two close contacts:
- These must be the same two contacts throughout the duration of the restriction.
- If the close contacts do not live alone, visits cannot be held at their home.
- Single parents who only live with their children under 18 are permitted to have up to two close contacts.
- Outdoor social gatherings can have up to 10 people, but must follow all public health rules about masks and physical distancing. The rules are enforceable with $1,000 fines.
- Retail stores and malls can have their capacity to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy, and youth sports teams and activities are allowed to resume with up to 10 participants. Masks and physical distancing are still required.
- Restrictions also eased for child, youth and adult performances, including singing, theatre and playing wind instruments, though participants must follow the same restrictions as for youth sports.
- Banquet halls, community hall and hotels can host permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 people, and funeral services with up to 20.
- Rules for indoor fitness still require that gym visits must be scheduled or by appointment — no drop-ins allowed.
- Low-intensity individual and group exercises are allowed without a trainer. Public health rules must be followed, including wearing masks and physical distancing.
- High-intensity activities — without a mask — are allowed only for one-on-one workouts with a trainer. Trainers must still be masked.
- No sports games, competitions, team practice or league play is allowed.
See which regions are being hit hardest:
You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information.
Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported Thursday by the province:
- Calgary zone: 4,058, up from 3,923 (53,175 recovered).
- Edmonton zone: 1,889, up from 1,844 (54,349 recovered).
- North zone: 1,058, up from 970 (12,916 recovered).
- South zone: 864, up from 854 (7,237 recovered).
- Central zone: 741, up from 733 (10,766 recovered).
- Unknown: 43, up from 26 (117 recovered).
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
How Alberta compares to other provinces and territories
Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:
- For the latest on what's happening in the rest of Canada and around the world, see here.