Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, May 26

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province will start lifting some public health restrictions as of June 1 and most will be gone by early July.

Alberta government announces 3-stage plan to ease pandemic restrictions

Zakaria Loukili holds the hand of his daughter, Ruqayyah, 11, as he receives his COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta on May 26. (AHS)

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • On Wednesday, the Alberta government unveiled its three-stage "open for summer" plan, a strategy for lifting health restrictions that is tied directly to vaccination rates and hospitalization numbers.
  • Stage 1 of the reopening is to start two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.
  • Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday that Alberta will fully enter Stage 1 on June 1, since Alberta reached the 50 per cent threshold for one-dose vaccination on May 18, and has hospitalizations well below 800. The numbers dropped after the province imposed tougher public-health restrictions again on May 4, to slow a huge surge in the spread of COVID-19 that threatened to overwhelm Alberta's health-care system.
  • The province could be fully open by the beginning of July or earlier, Kenney said.
  • Stage 1, the province said in a news release, will proceed as follows starting June 1:   
    • (Starting May 28:) The capacity limit for worship services increases to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.
    • Funeral ceremonies may have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions remain prohibited.
    • Wedding ceremonies may have up to 10 people, including the officiant, bride/groom, witnesses and any photographers/videographers. Receptions remain prohibited.
    • Personal and wellness services can reopen, by appointment only.
    • Retail can increase to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
    • Outdoor physical, performance and recreational activities are permitted with up to 10 distanced people, for all ages.
    • Outdoor patio dining can resume with a maximum of four people per table. Everyone at the table must be members of the same household or for a person living alone, dining parties are limited to two close contacts. Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
    • Indoor social gatherings are still not permitted.
    • Outdoor social gatherings, with distancing, increase to up to 10 people.
  • Stage 2: Two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.   
    • Outdoor social gatherings increase to 20 people, with distancing. Wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees.
    • Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
    • Funeral ceremonies remain unchanged with up to 20 people permitted, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
    • Restaurants may seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors. Dining parties are no longer restricted to households only. Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
    • Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
    • Capacity for places of worship increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
    • Gyms and other indoor fitness open for solo and drop-in activities with three-metre distancing between participants and fitness classes may resume with three-metre distancing.
    • Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres. This includes arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.
    • Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports resume with no restrictions.
    • Youth activities, such as day camps and play centres, may resume, with restrictions.
    • Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services.
    • Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person learning.
    • The work-from-home order is lifted but still recommended.
    • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (e.g., grandstands) can open with one-third seated capacity.
    • Public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people (e.g. concerts/festivals), with restrictions. Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.
  • Stage 3: Two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.   
    • All restrictions are lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings.
    • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain.
  • Additional details on all restrictions and measures in place will be released prior to each step. Albertans can track the province's immunization progress on, the province said.
  • Most of Alberta's students returned to in-person learning on May 25. The exception was kindergarten to Grade 12 students in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, whose students will continue to learn from home until at least May 31.
  • Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a news release last week that she's confident all students will finish the remainder of the school year in the classroom.
  • Alberta has announced new COVID-19 quarantine rules: Fully vaccinated Albertans no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms.
  • And people who have had one shot can have their isolation time reduced.

The latest on vaccines:

  • 2,578,577 vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford, as of May 25.
  • 385 adverse events following immunization have been reported. The most common are allergic reactions, swelling of glands, and diarrhea/vomiting. Together these make up the majority of the adverse events reported.
  • 49.7 per cent of Alberta's population has now received at least one dose of vaccine.
  • 357,963 Albertans are fully immunized (two doses) — 8 per cent of the population.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, is asking people to cancel their appointments if they can't make them, as over the last three days the no-show rate for AHS vaccination appointments was greater than four per cent, when one to three per cent is the norm.
  • Hinshaw says people who got their first dose of vaccine outside of the province can get a second dose in Alberta with proof of vaccination, which will be entered into their health records.

(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 COVID-19 numbers:

  • Alberta reported 390 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and six more deaths. 
  • There were 10,953 active cases.
  • The rate of active cases was 273 per 100,000 people in Alberta.
  • The daily test positivity rate was 7.0 per cent.
  • There were 548 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 157 in intensive care
  • There have now been 2,198 COVID deaths
  • 212,273 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.
  • The latest R-value reported for the province was 0.67, meaning the virus is spreading to less than one person for each confirmed case.
  • Three of Calgary's four adult hospitals are once again dealing with a number of COVID outbreaks. The outbreaks are driven by the variant first discovered in the U.K. Rockyview General Hospital has one affected unit with two patients who tested positive. An outbreak at Peter Lougheed Centre involves one patient. And Foothills Medical Centre has three units on outbreak involving 11 patients.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Wednesday.

  • Calgary zone: 4,577.
  • Edmonton zone: 2,823.
  • Central zone: 1,230.
  • South zone: 635.
  • North zone: 1,684.
  • Unknown: 4.

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:

With files from The Canadian Press


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