Alberta nears Stage 3 threshold as COVID-19 vaccination rate rises to 69.9% of those eligible

Alberta reported 150 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and two more deaths, as the province is on the verge of hitting its 70 per cent vaccination target.

As of Thursday, 69.9 per cent of Albertans over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of vaccine, as the province teeters on the edge of its vaccination threshold to trigger the final stage of its reopening plan. 

Under that plan, the province will lift most public health restrictions two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans have their first dose. So far, 24.2 per cent of eligible Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses. 

As of Thursday’s update, there were 242 people in hospital — down from 255 on Wednesday. Of those, 58 were in intensive care units.

The two additional deaths from the disease reported Thursday took place on Tuesday, and involved a man in his 70s from the Central zone, and a woman in her 70s from the South zone. 

In Alberta, 2,280 people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Provincial labs completed 6,044 tests for the disease on Wednesday for a positivity rate of about 2.4 per cent. 

Active cases fell by 168 to a total of 2,471 across the province Thursday. 

Here is how active cases breakdown by health zone: 

  • Calgary zone: 1,078
  • Edmonton zone: 535
  • North zone: 486
  • Central zone: 284
  • South zone: 88

As for the coronavirus variants, 136 new variant cases were identified on Wednesday, for a total of 1,796 active variant cases. 

Calgary outbreak

Dr. André Corriveau, Alberta’s deputy chief medical officer of health, encouraged more Albertans to get vaccinated to limit the spread of the more transmissible delta variant.  

Corriveau said the deaths of two patients at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, linked to the more transmissible delta variant, “naturally raises concern,” as one of the patients had been vaccinated.  

“Every death is tragic but it’s important not to over-generalize the community risk or effectiveness of vaccines,” Corriveau said in a Twitter post.

Corriveau is filling in for Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, who is taking the week off to spend time with her family.

Corriveau said the variant, also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, “remains a very small portion of our cases so far. 

“We’re working hard to limit its spread and you can help by getting both doses of vaccine,” he said. 

Since it was first detected in Alberta, the province has identified 367 cases of the delta variant, out of 23,173 variant cases, Corriveau said, making it just 1.6 per cent of Alberta’s total variant cases during that time. 

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