Alberta will expand its vaccine rollout by Monday to include everyone aged 12 and older, Premier Jason Kenney says.
The latest phase in the rollout will be implemented in two steps, Kenney said Wednesday at a news conference.
The first stage, starting Thursday, will make appointments available to all Albertans aged 30 and over.
The second stage, starting on Monday, May 10, will expand that to everyone aged 12 and over.
The news came one day after Kenney announced sweeping new public-health measures intended to lessen the impact of a surging third wave of COVID-19 infections.
- Kenney will speak with reporters Wednesday at 10 a.m. MT. You can watch it live here. As well, CBC Radio will carry the news conference live across the province.
Kenney will be joined at the news conference by Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
In a televised address Tuesday evening, Kenney announced a series of tightened restrictions — some of the strongest measures seen since Alberta’s first wave.
Kenney said the rules are necessary as current caseloads threaten to overwhelm frontline healthcare.
“If exponential growth of COVID-19 in Alberta continues, it would begin to push the outer limits of even our surged and expanded hospital capacity within weeks,” Kenney said Tuesday.
“We must not and we will not force our doctors and nurses to decide who gets care and who doesn’t.”
The new rules target possible spread of the virus in schools, places of worship, businesses, personal gatherings and seek to deter rule-breakers. They apply to most of the province, except small sections with small caseloads.
Personal services such as nail and hair salons must close. Churches are now limited to 15 attendees. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people.
Restaurant patios must close and retail capacity has been further constrained.
Workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks will be mandated to close for 10 days, with some exemptions for critical services.
All kindergarten to Grade 12 classrooms will shutter and students will move online for two weeks.
The basic fine for violating public health measures will double to $2,000. The maximum fine for serious offences remains $100,000.
Alberta now has 23,623 active cases, the highest total since the pandemic began and the highest case rate in Canada.
Hospitals were treating 671 patients COVID on Tuesday, including 150 in intensive care.