Article content continued
The new cases reported Wednesday were identified from 6,837 tests for a positivity rate of 3.7 per cent.
“Our province has made remarkable progress over these past two months. We have bent the curve and every Albertan can be proud of that,” said Hinshaw.
But if the provincial government were to give the go-ahead for all business sectors to reopen at the same time, there would be a very real possibility the gains seen over the past several weeks would be quickly lost, Hinshaw said.
Last Friday, Premier Jason Kenney announced a four-step relaunch strategy that allows restaurants, bars and gyms to reopen with strict restrictions next Monday. Under the phased approach, the province would then monitor hospitalization rates to determine when the next three groups of businesses will be given the green light.
The restrictions could ease for retail, banquet and community halls, conference centres and hotels if concurrent hospital admissions dip below 450 by March 1.
There were 539 Albertans in hospital, including 94 in intensive-care units, as of Wednesday.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was grateful for the hospitalization benchmarks given by the province so people can visualize and monitor the goals.
“We need to get to those next stages. It’s critical that we get there, and what getting there means is that we need discipline. It means doubling down on mask-wearing, physical distancing, handwashing and staying home when we can. Otherwise, we won’t get there,” Nenshi said at city hall on Monday.