Dr. Hinshaw to provide Alberta COVID-19 update at 2:45 p.m. Thursday

Alberta’s top doctor will provide updated COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations, deaths and public health measures Thursday.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw will speak earlier than usual — at 2:45 p.m.

Her news conference will be streamed live in this story.

Read more: Alberta’s new COVID-19 measures ban in-person dining, outdoor gatherings; retail to remain open

Many new province-wide public health measures take effect this weekend.

They include closing restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, gyms, and personal services like hair and nail salons.

Retail businesses and religious services will be restricted to 15 per cent capacity.

Click to play video 'Alberta premier rejects criticism he waited too long to impose restrictions' Alberta premier rejects criticism he waited too long to impose restrictions

Alberta premier rejects criticism he waited too long to impose restrictions

Social gatherings of any kind — indoors or outdoors — are banned.

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An Alberta-wide mask mandate in all indoor public spaces took effect immediately on Tuesday.

Read more: Alberta to begin coronavirus vaccine rollout next Wednesday as 1,460 new cases of COVID-19 reported

On Wednesday, Alberta reported 1,460 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus. The province’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 653.

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There were 685 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 121 of those people being treated in intensive care.

Alberta’s active case count of COVID-19 stands at 20,199.

Click to play video 'Alberta to begin COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 16' Alberta to begin COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 16

Alberta to begin COVID-19 vaccinations on Dec. 16

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was officially approved for use in Canada on Wednesday morning.

Alberta will begin to administer its first doses next Wednesday, Dec. 16.

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Read more: Canada approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, will start administering ‘within days’

Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the roll-out plan will begin with 3,900 doses of the vaccine for 3,900 health-care workers, including ICU doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and long-term care workers throughout the province.

The first set of acute care staff to receive the vaccine will come from Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre and Peter Lougheed Centre, as well as Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital and Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Shandro said AHS has the facilities and equipment in place to meet the ultra-cold storage requirements for the vaccine, which requires two doses about one month apart for it to be effective.

— With files from Caley Ramsay 

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