Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, May 3

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • On Sunday, Alberta again reported its highest total of active cases since the pandemic began, with 22,920 active cases.
  • Alberta reported 1,731 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Previous to Sunday, the province reported more than 2,000 daily cases for three days in a row. 
  • The province’s testing positivity rate is now 10.29 per cent.
  • The province has the highest active case rate in Canada and the United States, with 508 active cases per 100,000 people — twice that of the case rate of 252 in Ontario.
  • There are now 648 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 155 people in intensive care. That is the most patients in ICU that Alberta has seen at any point during the pandemic.
  • Three more people have died, for a total of 2,086 deaths.
  • The latest R-value reported for the province was 1.04.
  • 169,892 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19. 
  • Currently, 750 schools, about 31 per cent of all schools in Alberta, are on alert or have outbreaks.
  • Due to 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 Health Services opened a temporary walk-up testing site in northeast Calgary on April 30. The site is located at the McKnight Westwinds Park and Ride lot, located at 6200 36 Street N.E.

(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 restrictions and reopenings:

  • Alberta Health Services says it is exploring its legal options after hundreds attended a rodeo near Bowden, about 30 kilometres south of Red Deer, to protest COVID-19 restrictions. It took place on private land after the town’s agricultural society revoked its permit.
  • On April 30, the provincial government implemented new public-health measures in hot spots across the province where there are more than 350 active cases per 100,000 people and at least 250 total active cases.
  • The list of targeted communities includes Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Airdrie, Lethbridge, and Strathcona County.
  • All junior and senior high schools in the targeted communities will move to at-home learning starting May 3, though some had already shifted to online learning.
  • Indoor fitness and indoor sports were shut down in these communities as of April 30.
  • The mandatory restrictions will remain in effect for a minimum of two weeks, Kenney said. 
  • People who are ticketing for failing to comply with health measures now risk being unable to renew their driver’s licences or complete other transactions at registry services if they don’t pay their fines, the premier also announced Friday.
  • 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.
  • Alberta Health Services (AHS) said beginning April 27 and for the next two weeks, up to 30 per cent of surgeries in the Calgary, Edmonton and North zones would be postponed, as well as some non-urgent procedures and ambulatory appointments.
  • 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. Alberta Health Services said most people are receiving test results within 24 to 48 hours. 

The latest on vaccines:

  • Albertans eligible in the rest of the Phase 2C and 2D vaccine rollout are able to book appointments as of April 30.
  • Albertans in the 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 is also expanding 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.
  • Vaccination clinics began April 29 at two of Canada’s largest beef-packing plants in southern Alberta. Both the Cargill plant, which is near High River south of Calgary, and JBS Canada in Brooks were hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks last year.
  • Alberta plans to vaccinate about 15,000 workers at all of the province’s 136 meat-packing plants, using a combination of on-site and community locations. 
  • Alberta is altering the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility rules for residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Banff — and will redirect a large shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to both areas.
  • Calgary firefighters are now able to get COVID-19 vaccine shots after the city designated them as medical first responders.
  • Alberta Health said Friday 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.
  • The province had received about 270,000 doses which were all shipped to pharmacies and AHS for use. Ottawa has not informed the province of any future shipments.
  • Alberta Health says there are still appointments available at some participating pharmacies. AHS walk-in clinics in North Zone, in both Fort McMurray and Grand Prairie, are open until Sunday.
  • There are no appointments for AstraZeneca available through AHS via online booking or by calling 811. 
  • 1,621,306 vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford.
  • 300,755 Albertans have been fully immunized (2 doses).

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • On Saturday, 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. Alberta Health Services said most people are receiving test results within 24 to 48 hours. 
  • Alberta announced its first COVID-19 case linked to the B1617 variant on April 22, the variant fuelling the case surge in India.
  • There were 1,132 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Sunday.
  • About 62 per cent of active cases have been identified as variants of concern, but not all cases are being screened for variants.
  • There are 14,215 active variant cases, while 18,811 people have recovered and 88 people had died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 31,541 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, 106 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 1,466 cases linked to the variant P1, which was first identified in Brazil.

Dr. James Talbot says more restrictive measures to control the spread of COVID-19 should have been taken weeks ago. ‘We’ve already lost ground. There’s no more time to wait’, he said. 9:03

See which regions are being hit hardest:

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

  • Calgary zone: 9,556 active cases, up from 9,423 active cases reported on Saturday (67,409 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 6,088, up from 6,065 (62,026 recovered).
  • North zone: 3,308, up from 3,233 (17,343 recovered).
  • South zone: 1,216, up from 1,165 (9,274 recovered).
  • Central zone: 2,677, up from 2,542 (13,821 recovered).
  • Unknown: 75, down from 76 (19 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.

Despite restrictions on gatherings in Alberta, hundreds defied the rules at protests and even a rodeo. Meanwhile, Premier Jason Kenney faces calls to take more action as he suspended the provincial legislature. 3:22

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

How Alberta compares to other provinces and territories:

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