Premier Jason Kenney, health officials to update Albertans on COVID-19

Premier Jason Kenney will update Albertans Tuesday on the spread of COVID-19 and efforts to contain the new omicron variant.

Kenney, Health Minister Jason Copping and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, will speak at 3:30 p.m. MT.

Watch the news conference here. 

As of Monday there were 4,182 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, following a modest increase in active cases over the weekend.

Alberta reported 863 new cases of the disease on Monday, compiling data from the previous three days.

The province also reported seven new cases of the omicron variant on Monday, the newest variant of concern.

The province now has identified 30 omicron cases in total, 21 of them in the Calgary health zone.

There are 357 Albertans being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 68 in intensive care.

Alberta’s ICU capacity, including additional surge beds, is at 81 per cent. Without the surge spaces, ICU capacity would be at 107 per cent.

Rapid tests, holiday restrictions

Kenney said Friday that an announcement would come on Tuesday about plans for the distribution of rapid antigen tests.

According to an email from the Alberta government to a Calgary pharmacy, all Albertans will soon be able to access free take-home COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits from participating pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary.

Albertans outside of these cities can access testing kits through Alberta Health Services sites.

Pressure has been mounting for the province to share its stockpile of rapid COVID-19 tests more widely with Albertans ahead of the holidays.

The federal government has supplied more than 11 million of the tests, and the province still has roughly 5.5 million in storage.

During an update last week, Kenney also suggested that a decision on public health restrictions for the holidays will be made soon.

The premier promised a “modest, common-sense relaxation” of the rules so more Albertans could gather together for Christmas.

Kenney said he planned to gather with three fully vaccinated people from three households at Christmas, a private gathering that would be prohibited under current health restrictions. 

Currently in Alberta, indoor private social gatherings are limited to two households with up to a maximum of 10 vaccine-eligible people who have been vaccinated. There are no restrictions on children under 12.

Indoor social gatherings are not permitted for vaccine-eligible people who are unvaccinated.

View Source