Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, May 2

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • New numbers are expected to be released by the province around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • On Saturday, Alberta again reported its highest total of active cases since the pandemic began, with 22,504 active cases.
  • Alberta reported 2,433 new cases on Saturday, the highest number of new daily cases it has ever reported by nearly 20 per cent. The previous high was 2,048 new cases reported on Thursday. It’s the third day in a row the province has reported more than 2,000 daily cases. 
  • For the first time in the pandemic, the Calgary health zone reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day.
  • The province’s testing positivity rate is now 12.01 per cent, another grim milestone. The previous high was 11.39 per cent reported on Monday.
  • The province continues to have the highest active case rate in Canada, with 508 active cases per 100,000 people — twice that of the next highest case rate of 254 in Ontario.
  • The government of Alberta said it would not be holding a news conference Saturday to address the high numbers. 
  • Meantime, more Albertans in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are ending up in ICU with COVID-19 than ever before, according to a breakdown of data published by Alberta Health. People admitted to ICU in recent weeks have been significantly younger than those admitted over the winter, when a devastating second wave of infection swamped hospitals with critically ill patients. 
  • There are now 646 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 152 people in intensive care. That is the most patients in ICU that Alberta has seen at any point during the pandemic.
  • One more person has died, for a total of 2,083 deaths.
  • The latest R-value reported for the province was 1.04.
  • 168,580 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:

  • 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. 
  • On Friday, 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 Monday, though some had already shifted to online learning.
  • Indoor fitness and indoor sports will be shut down in these communities, effective Friday.
  • 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.
  • The province plans to start easing COVID-19 restrictions at long-term care centres on May 10, allowing each resident to designate up to four friends or family members as visitors.  Kenney said hospitalizations in those facilities have decreased by 93 per cent since active cases in care homes peaked in December. 
  • 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.

The latest on vaccines:

  • The province said Thursday that Albertans eligible in the rest of the Phase 2C and 2D vaccine rollout will be able to book appointments starting 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. 
  • 1,597,666 vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford.
  • 299,929 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 1,743 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Saturday.
  • 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 13,986 active variant cases, while 17,910 people have recovered and 86 people had died from variant infections.
  • Alberta had 30,551 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, 94 cases linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 1,336 cases linked to the variant P1, which was first identified in Brazil.

Alberta will adopt new “targeted” public-health measures in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney says. 2:40

See which regions are being hit hardest:

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

  • Calgary zone: 9,423 active cases, up from 9,184 active cases reported on Friday (66,776 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 6,065, up from 5,992 (61,693 recovered).
  • North zone: 3,233, up from 3,094 (17,196 recovered).
  • South zone: 1,165, up from 1,098 (9,224 recovered).
  • Central zone: 2,542, up from 2,425 (13,672 recovered).
  • Unknown: 76, up from 35 (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.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

How Alberta compares to other provinces and territories:

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