Premier Jason Kenney to provide update on COVID-19, vaccines as Alberta begins reopening

Premier Jason Kenney will join Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Tuesday afternoon to update Albertans about progress in the fight against COVID-19 and next steps in rolling out vaccinations.

Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw will hold a news conference today at 3:30 p.m. MT. They will be joined by Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Verna Yiu, the Alberta Health Services president and chief executive officer.

You can watch the news conference live here.

In a post on his official Twitter account, Kenney said there will be an “important announcement” today on Alberta’s plans to roll out second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 62 per cent of eligible Albertans have now received at least one shot but there have been questions about the timing and protocol for second shots as the province begins loosening public health restrictions.

Each step of Alberta’s three-step reopening plan is tied to vaccination rates.

Stage 1 launched Tuesday, reversing some of the restrictions announced last month as surging case numbers threatened to swamp Alberta hospitals. 

Patios and hair salons can reopen, retail capacity was increased slightly to 15 per cent and the size of permitted outdoor gatherings is back up to 10 people.

Stage 2 — which would include such measures as allowing venues like movie theatres and casinos to reopen — could begin as early as June 10, the government said last week after the vaccination and hospitalization thresholds were reached.

Almost all of the public health regulations are expected to be rescinded by early July.Hinshaw has said Alberta’s reopening plan will succeed as long as Albertans continue to exercise caution, physically distance, mask-up and get their vaccinations as soon as possible.

On Monday, Alberta reported 439 people with the illness including 133 in intensive care. There were 7,646 active cases across the province.

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