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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, May 5

As of next week, every Albertan over the age of 12 will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday, a day after he announced tighter public health restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Alberta tightens restrictions, increases fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers

A patient is attached to a ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of a hospital. Alberta hospitals were treating 671 patients with the illness as of Tuesday, including 150 in intensive-care beds. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • The Alberta government has introduced a bundle of tougher public-health restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 — measures Premier Jason Kenney argued are needed to keep the health-care system from being overwhelmed.
  • "We will not permit our health-care system to be overwhelmed," Kenney said, adding that could happen in a matter of weeks if case growth doesn't slow. 
  • All K-12 students in the province will move to online learning at the end of the week until May 25, after the May long weekend. The premier said 80,000 students and staff are already in self-isolation. All post-secondary classes will also move online. 
  • Workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks now must close for 10 days, unless they are essential workplaces.
  • Restaurants must move to take-out only, meaning patios must close. 
  • Retail will be limited to 10 per cent of fire code occupancy. 
  • Outdoor social gatherings will be limited to five people, and you are recommended to limit gatherings to a maximum of two different family cohorts. 
  • Places of worship are limited to 15 people and funerals are limited to 10 people. 
  • All indoor fitness activities must close, as well as hair salons and nail salons.
  • Outdoor sports are limited to household and close contacts only. 
  • The fine for violations is doubling from $1,000 to $2,000
  • The new public health measures apply to all parts of Alberta except those with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and fewer than 30 active cases.
  • The full list of current restrictions is available on the province's website
  • The premier said Albertans who are ignoring the public health rules "will not be tolerated."

WATCH | Alberta premier announces new restrictions:

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces new COVID-19 restrictions

CBC News Edmonton

3 months ago
1:48
Measures announced include closing restaurants and bars to in-person dining, closing down personal care services such as hair salons and limiting outdoor gatherings to five people. 1:48

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • On Wednesday, Alberta again reported its highest total of active cases since the pandemic began, with 24,156 active cases.
  • Alberta reported 2,271 new cases of COVID-19. 
  • The province's testing positivity rate is now 11.2 per cent, after reaching its highest ever on Monday at 13.2 — which means one in eight Albertans tested have COVID-19.
  • The province has the highest active case rate in Canada and the United States, with 534 active cases per 100,000 people — more than twice that of the case rate of 247 in Ontario.
  • There are now 666 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 146 people in intensive care
  • Three more people have died, for a total of 2,102 deaths. All of the deaths reported Wednesday were people in their 40s or younger.
  • The latest R-value reported for the province was 1.12, significantly higher than last week's R-value of 1.04, meaning the virus is spreading to more people for each confirmed case. 
  • 174,666 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19. 
  • Currently, 808 schools, about 33 per cent of all schools in Alberta, are on alert or have outbreaks. In-school transmission is believed to have occurred in 678 schools.
  • Because of 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 last week.
  • Alberta is cutting back scheduled surgeries in its two major cities and the northern part of the province to make room for a possible influx of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • On May 1, the province stopped screening all positive tests for variants of concern, in order to maintain required lab capacity for COVID-19 testing. Variant screening will now target populations with a higher risk of being infected with a variant, or a higher risk of spreading variant strains.

(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:

  • Alberta Health announced on May 5 that the province will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to anyone over the age of 12 as the provincial vaccine rollout advances to Phase 3.
  • Starting May 6, every Albertan 30 or older (born in 1991 or earlier), can book an appointment through AHS or a participating pharmacy.
  • On May 10, appointment bookings will expand to include Albertans ages 12 to 29 (born in 1992 to 2009).
  • An Alberta woman in her 50s has died from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, says the province's chief medical officer of health. In a statement Tuesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the woman died of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). It's Alberta's first death linked to the vaccine.
  • Kenney announced May 3 that teachers, child-care workers and school support staff are now eligible to be vaccinated.
  • Albertans categorized in the rest of the Phase 2C and 2D vaccine rollout plan became eligible to book appointments as of April 30.
  • Albertans in these final groups of Phase 2 include front-line disability workers and workers in group homes and other supportive living sites, workers at locations with potential for large outbreaks, police officers and provincial sheriffs, all Albertans aged 50 and older, and all First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) persons aged 35 and older.
  • The province has also expanded the number of people eligible due to underlying health conditions. As of April 27, those born between 2006 and 2009 with qualifying conditions can book appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
  • Alberta Health said on April 30 that the vast majority of doses of the province's supply of AstraZeneca-Oxford have now been administered or booked. Existing bookings will be honoured.
  • 1,694,675 vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford.
  • 305,511 Albertans have been fully immunized (2 doses).

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • There were 903 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Wednesday. On Monday, the province reported 1,900 — the highest number of new variant cases reported in a single day.
  • About 59.4 per cent of active cases have been identified as variants of concern, but not all cases are being screened for variants.
  • There are 14,358 active variant cases, while 22,335 people have recovered and 100 people have died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 34,715 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom; 116 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa; four cases linked to variant B1617, first detected in India; and 1,958 cases linked to the variant P1, which was first identified in Brazil.
  • On May 1, the province stopped screening all positive tests for variants of concern, in order to maintain required lab capacity for COVID-19 testing. Variant screening will now target populations with a higher risk of being infected with a variant, or a higher risk of spreading variant strains.

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 by the province on Wednesday.

  • Calgary zone: 10,288 active cases, up from 9,889 active cases reported on Tuesday (69,469 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 6,098, up from 6,014 (63,363 recovered).
  • North zone: 3,570, up from 3,564 (17,995 recovered).
  • South zone: 1,280, up from 1,260 (9,532 recovered).
  • Central zone: 2,888, up from 2,836 (14,295 recovered).
  • Unknown: 32, down from 60 (12 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.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

How Alberta compares to other provinces and territories:

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