As the province prepares to move into Step 3 of its reopening plan this week, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave her final scheduled COVID-19 update.
Most remaining COVID-19 public health measures across the province are expected to be lifted Thursday, as the province sits at 1,132 active cases of the virus, the lowest number since Aug. 26.
“This pandemic has tested us and at times it has polarized us. It has challenged all of us in ways we never could have expected it,” said Hinshaw Tuesday.
“We are stronger and safer together. We are a province of people who protect each other – who support each other and rely on each other in a million different ways, big and small.”
There were four new deaths reported, including a man in his 60s from Red Deer who died Sunday. In total there are 2,299 COVID-deaths in Alberta since the start of the pandemic.
The province identified 61 new cases Tuesday, based on 3,400 tests for a positivity rate of 1.6 per cent. Sixteen new variant cases were also identified. Overall, 170 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 39 in the ICU.
“Across the board, our numbers are moving in the right direction. Cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and our positivity rate are the lowest they’ve been since last summer and early fall,” Hinshaw said.
Nearly, 72.7 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose and 40.7 per cent are fully immunized. Hinshaw said that those slight increases are because Alberta is now using July 2020 Statistics Canada data to calculate the percentage of people who are vaccinated, as opposed to Alberta Heath’s 2021 population data. That falls in line with other provinces.
Hinshaw also said the province has about 4,000 doses of AstraZeneca that will expire on July 1, due to decreased demand.
“This is a small number, considering that more than 289,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered and the vaccine wastage remains very low,” she said, adding they are the first doses of the four million administered in the province.
She added the province doesn’t yet know when the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for children under 12 and she did not provide specific guidance for families with young children.
“Each family will need to make the best decision for them, there is no single right answer,” she said.
The Central zone sits at 126 active cases of the virus, with 19 people being treated in hospital, including four in the ICU.
Red Deer still has 29 active cases of the virus, with Red Deer County at eight and Lacombe has four. Olds and Mountain View County each have one active case. On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 29 active cases of the virus.
Wetaskiwin has 10 active cases, Sylvan Lake has eight, Kneehill County has 16 active and Clearwater County has six active.
Camrose, Camrose County, Lacombe County and Drumheller all have no active cases of the virus.