Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, April 12

The latest COVID-19 numbers and restrictions:

  • Alberta reported 1,136 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, after hitting the highest daily total this year with 1,521 new cases on Friday. 
  • The province’s total active cases now sits at 14,849 — more than Quebec’s tally of 12,602 but less than Ontario’s total of 32,817. Quebec has roughly double Alberta’s population, while Ontario is nearly four times larger. 
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, urged all Albertans to reach out for a vaccine appointment as soon as they are eligible, during a live update on Friday.
  • Variant cases continue to surge and are now the dominant strains of the virus, accounting for 51.3 per cent of total active cases.
  • There are 390 people in hospital, 90 of whom are in intensive care, and five more people have died for a total of 2,018 deaths in the province.
  • Effective immediately, the province will strongly encourage all new COVID-19 cases to isolate away from other household members, in hotels or other separate accommodations, Hinshaw said Thursday.
  • As of Thursday, the province will begin offering testing twice to close contacts of all confirmed cases, Hinshaw said, regardless of what strain they may have been exposed to. 
  • The provincial positivity rate is 9.05 per cent, and the R-value is 1.12, meaning that, on average, each person with COVID-19 will infect more than one other person.

The medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services explains the vaccination strategy for the workers of the Cargill plant in High River, Alta. 0:58

  • Alberta is expanding a rapid testing program in schools to test up to 200,000 students and 20,000 staff.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that the province would return to Step 1 restrictions to try to slow the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus.
  • A growing third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to be worse than the two that came before, with Alberta on track to have up to 1,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 2,000 cases per day by the end of April.
  • Kenney held a news conference Tuesday with Hinshaw, that laid out some alarming projections of what could happen over the next few weeks.

(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.)

  • On Wednesday, 16 United Conservative Party MLAs spoke out against their own government’s move to impose more stringent public-health restrictions in the face of spiking COVID-19 cases. 
  • Hundreds of people demonstrated Sunday outside the shuttered GraceLife Church west of Edmonton. Alberta Health Services closed the church last week after it repeatedly defied public health orders, with hundreds of people attending services
  • Some Calgary gym and restaurant owners are pushing back against new public health restrictions and vowing to keep their doors open to customers.
  • Step 1 restrictions mandate that:
    • Restaurants must close to in-person dining starting April 9, but can be open for takeout, delivery and patio service.
    • Indoor social gatherings remain banned and outdoor get-togethers can have no more than 10 people and must follow public health restrictions.
    • Retail store capacity is lowered to 15 per cent.
    • Low-intensity group fitness activities are banned.
    • A full list of restrictions is available on the province’s website
  • Kenney said there will be an announcement in the near future about additional supports for businesses forced to closed.
  • There are 2,285 cases at schools in the province, with 17 per cent of Alberta’s schools (414 schools) on alert or with outbreaks. In-school transmission is believed to have happened in 87 per cent of those schools, or 358 schools.
  • The rollout of Phase 2C of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will begin on April 12 when 240,000 nurses, doctors, dentists and any health-care workers in patient care facilities or providing direct patient care in the community can sign up to receive a shot.
  • Health-care workers will need to provide proof of eligibility, like personal ID that shows their birthdate, and proof of employment, at their appointments. 
  • Other groups in 2C, like residents and support staff at congregate living facilities at risk for large otubreaks like correctional facilities, homeless shelters, meat-packing plants and group homes, and caregivers of Albertans at risk of severe outcomes, are expected to begin in the following weeks. 

Paul D’andrea received his Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine in Camrose, Alta., earlier this year. (Alberta Health Services)

  • Phase 2B of the vaccine rollout expanded on April 7. Those with eligible health conditions born earlier than 2005 are now eligible to book their vaccine.
  • Alberta plans to open COVID-19 vaccination clinics at meat-packing plants across the province as early as April 20 or sooner, starting with a pilot project at the Cargill operation near High River.
  • Some Alberta pharmacists are frustrated by the lack of communication from the province about recent changes to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout they say caught them off guard.
  • 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.
  • Hinshaw posted on social media Monday that the province is investigating a significant outbreak involving the variant of concern that was first identified in Brazil, one at a Calgary-based company’s worksites in central and northern Alberta and the other at a Calgary workplace.

The latest on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines:

  • Premier Jason Kenney said Monday the province is on track to give 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week. He also said during his update on Alberta’s vaccine rollout that by the end of May there should be about 48 to 50 per cent protection among Albertans, at which point Albertans can expect to see some of the public health restrictions eased.
  • When about 64 per cent of Albertans have some form of immunity, restrictions likely will be further eased but masking and distancing will still be encouraged, and once 72 per cent of people have immunity, Kenney said, he hopes Alberta will be in full recovery with no distancing or masks. 
  • As of April 11, there have been 847,630  vaccine doses delivered.
  • Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continues to ramp up. There are now 163,532  Albertans who have received two doses of vaccine.
  • Alberta is now in Phase 2B of the vaccination rollout, opening up more appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in a staggered rollout. 
    • Who’s eligible in Group 2B:
      • Albertans born 1957 to 2005 (ages 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).
      • Starting April 6: Born in or before 1973 can book through AHS (online or 811).
      • Starting April 7 at 8 a.m.: Born in 2005 or before can book through AHS (online or 811).
  • 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.

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • Alberta reported 679 new cases involving variants of concern on Monday. Variants now represent more than 51 per cent of active cases. 
  • The total number of active variant cases is 7,620To date, there have been a total of 11,449 variant cases.
  • 3,789 people have recovered and 40 people have died from variant infections.
  • Screening in Alberta has now confirmed a total to date of 11,320 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom. Another 27 cases have been linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 102 cases have been linked to variant P1, which is now spreading widely in Brazil.
  • 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.

The latest on AstraZeneca-Oxford/Covishield vaccine:

  • Phase 2 of the AstraZeneca-Oxford rollout began April 6.
  • Albertans born from 1957 to 1966 who do not have chronic underlying health conditions can now make an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine at participating pharmacies across the province.
  • Eligible Albertans in this phase can choose to wait for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to become available to their age group when Phase 2D opens in May, according to the government.
  • 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, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) persons born 1972 to 1976.
  • Alberta previously 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, 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.

See which regions are being hit hardest

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported Monday by the province:

  • Calgary zone: 6,802, up from 6,600 reported on Sunday (56,325 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 3,688, up from 3,524 (55,715 recovered).
  • North zone: 1,970, up from 1,885 (13,753 recovered).
  • South zone: 949, up from 942 (7,916 recovered).
  • Central zone: 1,311, up from 1,222 (11,339 recovered).
  • Unknown: 129, up from 120 (123 recovered).

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:

  • For the latest on what’s happening in the rest of Canada and around the world, see here.

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