Updated: May 4, 2021
EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney pleaded for Albertans to follow the COVID-19 public health restrictions in place as the province reported 2,012 new cases on Monday, including 1,900 variant infections.
There are now 23,608 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta – the highest amount of total infections in the province throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the province completed about 15,000 tests Monday, bringing the positivity rate to 13.2 per cent – another pandemic high.
Of the 1,900 cases of variants of concern reported, 1,558 were the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.
P.1 variant cases in Alberta have been significantly increasing in the past few weeks, with 342 new infections of the variant first identified in Brazil reported Monday.
As of Sunday, more than 1.64 million vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta with 29.6 per cent of those eligible receiving at least one dose. Only 6.6 per cent of the population has been fully immunized from COVID-19.
Nearly 60 per cent of Albertans aged 60 to 64 have received their first dose and 77 per cent of those between the ages of 65 and 74 have gotten their first immunization.
Kenney encouraged all Albertans to take COVID-19 “seriously.” He added that a new set of restrictions are being developed by the province and that more details will be announced Tuesday.
“Put our health-care system first,” Kenney said. “We all want to see this pandemic over.”
The premier called it astonishing that after 14 months and more than 2,000 deaths in Alberta people are still treating COVID-19 as a hoax.
“It’s up to each of us, our actions will determine whether we get a summer where we can enjoy lighter restrictions and low spread because of vaccines or whether we’re still stuck battling the spread of this virus,” he said.
During the COVID-19 update, Kenney announced Alberta teachers and support staff at schools like custodians will be eligible for vaccination starting Tuesday.
MORE RESTRICTIONS COMING FOR ALBERTA
Kenney said Albertans can expect “stronger” public health measures for the province on Tuesday.
The cabinet committee in charge of restrictions will be meeting, although Kenney said there have been no decisions made yet as to the nature of the stricter rules.
Asked why restrictions in the province have been applied in a piecemeal, step-by-step fashion, as opposed to larger packages, he said: “We have consistently stuck to the same goals, which have been to protect lives, to protect the healthcare system, but also to minimize the negative impact of restrictions on our broader social health.”
“I think generally we have done quite well with that.”
He justified the success of Alberta’s restrictions to date by citing the per capita death rate in the province as compared to the national rate and rates in other jurisdictions in North America and Europe.