Alberta's COVID-19 numbers continue to drop, with 474 new cases reported Monday
'We are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet'
As the province awaits its next vaccine shipment, the province continues to see declining rates of COVID-19.
On Monday, Alberta reported 474 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. There are 739 people in hospital with the disease, 120 of whom are in intensive care.
The province also reported 11 more deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,447.
"Over the last month we've seen active cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and our transmission rate decline," Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference. "This is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices of so many."
But Hinshaw emphasized that case numbers in Alberta are still very high. Three months ago, on Oct. 18, the active case count was just over 3,000, while on Monday it was 11,923.
"Critically, on Oct. 18, there were 120 people in hospital with COVID-19," she said. "Today we have more than six times that total.
"All of this means we are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet.
"So as we ease the restrictions on three provincewide measures today, please continue to take every precaution you can, and make good choices — choices that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, choices that will help save lives and our health-care system, and choices that will help lead us in a direction where we may be able to safely relax more measures in the weeks ahead."
WATCH | Dr. Hinshaw describes province's approach to easing restrictions
Alberta began easing some public health restrictions Monday, allowing hair salons, barbershops, esthetics, manicure and pedicure businesses, reflexology, piercing and tattoo shops, and other personal and wellness services to reopen by appointment only.
But not everything is going as hoped in the fight against COVID-19.
In a Monday morning news conference, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province's ability to issue vaccines will have outstripped supply by early Tuesday at the latest.
The next shipment of the vaccine isn't expected until later in the week, Kenney said.
When the vaccine does arrive, it will be used for second doses that have already been booked, Hinshaw said.
"What I can tell you is that at the moment it does seem like we have enough vaccine in hand, as well as what's been committed, even with the reduction in the Pfizer supplies, to be able to offer that second dose to all who've booked it."
As of Monday, 89,814 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.
Both Kenney and Hinshaw said that first-dose vaccinations have wrapped up at all 357 long-term care and designated supported living facilities in the province.
The Pfizer vaccine supply has been temporarily slowed because the pharmaceutical giant is cutting production to upgrade its manufacturing capacity at its facility in Belgium.