Dr. Deena Hinshaw to provide pandemic update as COVID-19 cases reach new peak

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health will give her latest update Thursday afternoon on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. You can watch it live here.

As of Wednesday there were 24,156 active cases across the province, the highest total since the pandemic began in March 2020. 

Alberta recorded 2,271 new cases on Wednesday and reported three more COVID-19 deaths. 

Highest active-case rate 

Another 903 new cases involving variants of concern reported on Wednesday. Alberta had 14,358 active cases linked to more contagious variants, making up 59.6 per cent of the total.

Across the province, hospitals were treating 666 patients for the illness, including 146 in ICU beds.

Alberta’s positivity rate now stands at 11.1 per cent. 

With 534 active cases per 100,000 people, the province has the highest active-case rate in Canada.

This week, Premier Jason Kenney tightened public health restrictions in a bid to slow the spread. 

The sweeping measures have moved all kindergarten to Grade 12 students online, closed restaurant patios, and further restricted capacity inside businesses and places of worship.

All indoor fitness activities must stop. All personal services such as hair salons and tattoo parlours must close. With the exception of critical services, workplaces with outbreaks will be mandated to temporarily shut down. 

The fine for violating public health measures has doubled to $2,000 and the province has vowed to adopt a co-ordinated enforcement strategy to deal with repeat offenders. 

The province has also expanded vaccine eligibility. All Albertans aged 12 and older will be able to book starting Monday, putting another 1.3 million Albertans in line for shots. 

Alberta Health Services reported booking 50,000 new appointments by 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Just before 1 p.m., Premier Jason Kenney said in a post on Twitter that 100,000 appointments had been booked in less than five hours. 

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