Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, April 24

The latest COVID-19 numbers and restrictions:

  • Alberta is expected to report new numbers at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • Alberta reported 1,690 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — with a testing positivity rate of 9.65 per cent — as the province continues to record case counts in the range seen last December, during the height of the pandemic’s second wave.
  • Alberta’s total active cases rose to 19,446, up from 19,182 reported Thursday and quickly closing in on the previous high of 21,138 hit at the height of the second COVID-19 wave in December.
  • 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 Thursday.
  • AHS will operate a COVID-19 testing trailer in Banff on April 24 and 25, in the parking lot beside the town’s Community Health Centre at Wolf and Lynx streets, the Town of Banff tweeted Friday. Bookings are required for appointments.
  • More than 157,272 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
  • The more dangerous and highly transmissible variant cases continue to surge and are now the dominant strains of the virus in Alberta, accounting for 60 per cent of total active cases.
  • There are now 549 people in hospital, up from 518. There are 125 people with COVID-19 in intensive care. Five more people have died, for a total of 2,059 deaths.
  • The provincial positivity rate is 9.65 per cent, and the R-value is 1.09.
  • There were alerts or outbreaks at 612 schools — 25 per cent of all schools in Alberta — with 3,502 cases since Jan. 11. 

(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:

  • The AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccination efforts gained enormous traction when eligibility was widened Tuesday to include healthy Albertans ages 40 to 55, as many gen-Xers inundated vaccination sites and celebrated by posting vaccination selfies. Prior to that, when it was only open to eligible Albertans ages 56 to 64, thousands of vaccination appointments went unused amid reports of vaccine hesitancy among the older cohort.
  • Calgary’s  AstraZeneca/Covishield mass vaccination site at the Telus Convention Centre reached walk-in capacity shortly after it opened at 9 a.m. Friday and will no longer be accepting walk-ins due to a huge surge in demand in the city, Alberta Health Services tweeted. It remains open for Albertans who have booked appointments. 
  • Walk-in AstraZeneca vaccinations are still available at eight other sites in the province, in Brooks, Camrose, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.
  • Eligible Albertans wanting an AstraZeneca shot can book through the AHS online booking tool and through Health Link 811. Many pharmacies are also taking bookings, although some haven’t received the vaccine.

  • Meanwhile, Phase 2C of the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines began on April 12, expanding to include 240,000 nurses, doctors, dentists and any health-care workers in patient care facilities or providing direct patient care in the community. Correctional facility staff and inmates are also eligible, as well as staff and residents at shelters.
  • The Alberta government announced Wednesday it plans to change employment standards to allow workers three hours of paid leave to get vaccinated against the illness.
  • Other groups in 2C — such as support staff at workplaces that are at risk for large outbreaks like meat-packing plants and front-line policing, as well as residents at group homes and caregivers of Albertans at risk of severe outcomes — are expected to begin in the following weeks. 
  • AHS said Thursday that 1,275,287 doses of COVID-19 vaccines (including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford) had been administered in Alberta. There are now 252,422 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • Alberta announced its first COVID-19 case linked to the B1617 variant on Thursday, the variant fuelling the case surge in India.
  • There were 1,184 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Friday. Variants now comprise 60 per cent of all active cases. 
  • There are 11,738 active variant cases, while 10,643 people have recovered and 64 people had died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 21,738 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, 62 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 644 cases linked to variant P1, now spreading in Brazil.

Alberta has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 linked to the B1617 variant fuelling a surge of cases in India. 1:59

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • The Government of B.C. is restricting all non-essential travel into or out of all health authority regions, effective immediately. 
  • The legal orders are meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, and will be in effect in B.C. until May 25 — the end of the May long weekend.
  • The province is working with police enforcement agencies to introduce additional measures to ensure they have the authority to conduct periodic roadside checks into and out of the defined regions.
  • Those who contravene the legal order in B.C. — including Albertans — may be subject to a $575 fine, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Friday.
  • The federal government said Thursday that it will ban passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days amid rising COVID-19 case counts in India and concerns about mutations of the coronavirus.
  • On April 6, the Alberta government reimposed Step 1 restrictions, including closing restaurants and bars to in-person dining, lowering retail store capacity to 15 per cent and banning low-intensity group fitness activities.
  • Edmonton will spend $12 million this year on COVID-19 specific initiatives to help the city cope with and move past the pandemic, city council agreed Wednesday. 
  • Edmonton and Fort McMurray public and Catholic schools have shifted all students in grades 7 to 12 to online learning for two weeks, following an earlier announcement by Calgary public and Catholic schools to do the same.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Alberta provided limited data on Wednesday due to a technical issue. Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Friday:

  • Calgary zone: 8,397 cases (61,993 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 5,307 cases (58,705 recovered).
  • North zone: 2,714 cases (15,446 recovered).
  • South zone: 954 cases (8,703 recovered).
  • Central zone: 2,035 cases (12,408 recovered).
  • Unknown: 39 cases (17 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:

View Source