Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, April 20

The latest on vaccines:

  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is thanking Albertans ages 40-55 for their overwhelming response in signing up to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, after that age group was made eligible to book on Tuesday.
  • “That is more uptake in one day than in all of last week, so well done to everybody who is participating,” he said. “The response to AstraZeneca we’ve seen in the last couple of days is proof Albertans won’t stop … If you’re eligible and have not yet booked your appointment, please do it now.”
  • Kenney said he has booked his AstraZeneca vaccine appointment for Thursday, while Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of heatlh, received hers Tuesday.
  • Alberta Health said more than 36,000 Albertans booked appointments with AHS on Tuesday to receive an AstraZeneca vaccine, and 25,000 appointments are still available in the next 14 days at AHS sites, with more appointments available at participating pharmacies. 
  • Calgary’s walk-in COVID-19 immunization site located in the Southport Building S.W. moved to the Telus Convention Centre on Tuesday. AHS says the centre has more capacity for the number of people expected to access Astra Zeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine now that the age requirements have expanded.
  • Edmonton’s rapid flow clinic remains at the Edmonton EXPO Centre.
  • People wanting a shot can also book through the AHS online booking tool and through Health Link 811. Many pharmacies are also taking bookings.
  • The new age threshold means 575,425 more Albertans were eligible to be vaccinated.
  • As of Tuesday, 1,196,428 doses of vaccine have been administered and 239,277 people have been fully vaccinated. 
  • Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley urged Kenney and his United Conservative government to work with her to fast-track legislation to allow people to get three hours off with pay if necessary to get vaccinated. Kenney said he is receptive to the idea and that he would get back to Notley on Wednesday after consulting with officials.
  • Alberta officials say there are battling some hesitancy brought on by reports of extremely rare blood clots occurring in people who have received AstraZeneca, also known as Covishield.
  • The risk of a blood clot is exponentially higher for people who become infected with COVID-19 than for those who receive AstraZeneca, Hinshaw has repeatedly stressed.
  • About one in four people hospitalized with COVID-19 get blood clots, she said, while Canada has seen just two cases of blood clots associated with the 700,000 AstraZeneca doses given out. 
  • It is far more likely to experience blood clots from smoking, falls/injuries and other common everyday occurrences, Alberta Health Services said.
  • Conversely, AstraZeneca’s first dose reduces infection by 60 to 70 per cent and, importantly, hospitalization and risk of death is reduced by 80 per cent. 
  • 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.
  • Other groups in 2C — such as residents and support staff at congregate living facilities at risk for large outbreaks 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. 
  • Hinshaw said the interval between first and second doses has been extended to a maximum of 16 weeks, but once all Albertans over 16 have been offered a first dose, second doses will begin as supply allows. 

The latest COVID-19 numbers and restrictions:

  • Alberta reported 1,345 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with a positivity rate of 10.4 per cent
  • Alberta’s total active cases now sits at 18,481, up from 18,424 on Monday.
  • About 44 per cent of the active cases were in Calgary, while slightly more than a quarter were in Edmonton.
  • To date, more than 153,000 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 56.9 per cent of total active cases.

(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.)

  • There were 476 people in hospital, 105 of whom are in intensive care. Five more people have died, for a total of 2,048 deaths.
  • The provincial positivity rate is 10.4 per cent, and the R-value is 1.09, meaning that, on average, each person with COVID-19 will infect more than one other person.
  • Edmonton and Fort McMurray public and Catholic schools have shifted all students in grades 7 to 12 to online learning for two weeks. 
  • That follows the decision by Calgary public and Catholic schools to shift their grades 7-12 students to online learning Monday.
  • Also effective April 19, all extracurricular youth sport, recreational and performance activities in Calgary must either take place outdoors or be paused for two weeks. The pause applies to all Calgary youth in grades 7 to 12, including home-schooled students.
  • There were alerts or outbreaks at 567 schools, which represents 23 per cent of all schools in Alberta, with 3,208 cases in total

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi rolled up his sleeve at the Telus Convention Centre’s mass vaccination clinic last night. 0:23

The latest on more dangerous variants:

  • There were 816 new cases involving variants of concern on Tuesday.
  • There were 10,520 active variant cases, which comprise 56.9 per cent of all active cases.
  • 8,026 people have recovered and 57 people have died from variant infections.
  • Alberta has 18,390 cases linked to variant B117, first detected in the United Kingdom. Another 31 cases have been linked to variant B1351, first detected in South Africa, and 182 cases have been linked to variant P1, which is now spreading in Brazil.

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • Communities on both sides of the Alberta-British Columbia border are bracing for travel restrictions that the B.C. government says will be coming Friday.
  • At a news conference Monday, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced that travel restrictions are in the works that are expected to be in place through the Victoria Day weekend in May.
  • Amid the surging COVID-19 and variant cases, 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.
  • Hinshaw warned this week that if case and hospitalization growth does not slow soon, further public health measures may be required. 
  • However, government officials say they are optimistic that outdoor festivals and events such as the Calgary Stampede will go ahead this summer.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

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

  • Calgary zone: 8,098, up from 8,025 reported on Monday (60,065 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 4,899, up from 4,887 (57,567 recovered).
  • North zone: 2,543, down from 2,575 (14,881 recovered).
  • South zone: 969, up from 938 (8,442 recovered).
  • Central zone: 1,900, down from 1,930 (12,026 recovered).
  • Unknown: 72, up from 69 (21 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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