Alberta adds 406 new cases Saturday, relaunch plan on track as hospitalizations drop below 500

EDMONTON — Another 406 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta have been reported Saturday as hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to decrease.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health for Alberta, reported the numbers in a limited update on Twitter. Approximately 6,882 tests have been completed leading to a positivity rate of 7.57 per cent.

The last time less than 500 cases were reported in one day was March 28, 2021.

Total active cases of COVID-19 in the province is 8,474 – down by 286 cases from Friday’s 8,760.

Friday marked the first time active cases were below 9,000 since April 1 this year.

The Calgary zone leads the province in active cases with 3,459 while the Edmonton zone has 2,239. The North zone and Central zone have 1,254 and 1,002, respectively. The South zone has 518. Two active cases have an unknown zone of origin.

There are 478 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, including 140 in ICU – a decrease of 39 patients and seven ICU patients since Friday.

The Edmonton zone leads ICU admissions for the province with 57 people. The Calgary zone has 50 while the Central zone has 14. The North zone and South zone have 12 and 7 people in ICU, respectively.

Eight more deaths from COVID-19 were reported Saturday raising the total to 2,214.

Of the eight new reported deaths, three were in the North zone, including a man in his 60s, a woman in her 70s, and a man in his 70s. All cases included comorbidities.

Three were in the Edmonton zone, with one being a man in his 30s without comorbidities. The other two included comorbidities and were a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 80s.

In the Calgary zone, a man in his 50s and a man in his 70s died. Both deaths included comorbidities. 

Over 216,100 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.

Over 2.72 million vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta.

As of Friday, more than half of the province’s total population had received at least one dose of their COVID-19 immunization – translating to about 2.2 million Albertans. More than 363,000 are fully immunized.

READ MORE: 60 per cent of eligible Albertans have now had a first shot; province adds 512 new cases on Friday 

Alberta Health Services have administered over 1.5 million vaccines while pharmacies have given over 1.1 million. The remaining 69,153 vaccines have been administered by other providers like physician clinics.

RELAUNCH PLAN ON TRACK FOR NOW

The level of first doses administered so far and hospitalization dropping below 500 means the province could move to Stage 2 of its reopening plan as soon as June 10, provided the threshold of hospitalizations dose not increase back above 500 patients.

The province is set to reopen in three phases based on hospital admissions and COVID-19 vaccination numbers.

The first stage is set to being June 1.

Stage 2 criteria includes 60 per cent of Albertans 12 and older receiving at least one dose and hospitalizations remaining below 500. The third stage is set to trigger after 70 per cent of the eligible population has had at least one dose.

The second stage permits gathering limits to decrease and indoor capacity expanded again in a number of public environments, including gyms, libraries and movie theatres. The work-from-home order will be lifted but remain a recommendation. Outdoor gatherings – including events like concerts and festivals – will be capped at 150 people, except grandstands will be limited to one third of seating capacity.

All restrictions – except isolation requirements for positive cases and some protections in continuing care and hospital settings – will be lifted in Stage 3, when 70 per cent of the eligible province has received at least one dose. 

In a statement, Premier Jason Kenney said the province has reached another milestone Saturday.

“This decline in the number of people in hospital due to COVID-19 shows that Albertans’ efforts to stick to guidelines and to get vaccinated are paying off,” Kenney said. “As long as hospitalizations stay below 500, we will move into Stage 2 on June 10 and be one step closer to having an amazing and fully open Alberta summer.”

“Fewer people in hospital shows Albertans are responding to our call for vaccinations, and is yet another welcome sign that we are on the right track,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a statement.

“Health officials will continue to monitor this trend closely in the weeks ahead as we move towards reopening the province.”

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