Premier Jason Kenney says additional restrictions will be revealed this week, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Alberta.
On Monday, the provincial government identified another 2,012 COVID-19 cases. There are now 23,608 active cases in Alberta, to go along with 171,212 recovered cases.
“I said last Thursday that if Albertans are not willing to do what’s right, even though it’s hard, then we will be forced to take further steps,” Kenney said during a live press conference Monday afternoon.
“We are developing a package of stronger public health measures, which I expect to announce (Tuesday). The next few weeks are critical. If we bend cases down, the vaccines will be able to catch up with the variants.
“But 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 thanks to vaccines, or whether we’re still stuck battling the spread of this virus.”
Red Deer has jumped to 863 active cases, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. This is a new record for the city and an uptick of 65 cases from Sunday’s 798.
Starting Tuesday, teachers, support staff in schools and child-care workers will be able to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
“The glue that kept learning going and our kids focused, has been our teachers,” Kenney said.
“They’ve not only developed ways to engage and get through the curriculum that our kids need to succeed, but they’ve served as unofficial counsellors, sometimes as sanitation supervisors, tech consultants and sources of comfort and routine in a world that has often seemed turned upside-down by the pandemic.”
Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling had two words to say in response to the announcement: “About time.”
Kenney said he expects the government will launch Phase 3 of its vaccination rollout plan “in very near future.” Phase 3 would allow the general population, older than 16 years old, to book appointments.
When looking at the province’s mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 197 active cases, Lacombe County has 170, the City of Lacombe has 172, Sylvan Lake has 145, Mountain View County has 89, Olds has 122, Clearwater County has 81 and Stettler County has 105.
The City of Camrose has 130 active cases, Camrose County has 49, Kneehill County has 56, Drumheller has 27 and Starland County has five.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 163 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 97 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County, has 49 active.
Overall the Central zone has 2,807 active cases, while the Calgary zone has 9,942, the Edmonton zone has 6,033, the North zone has 3,478 and the South zone has 1,261. The locations of 87 active cases are unknown.
Provincially, 658 people are currently hospitalized by COVID-19, with 154 of those individual in an intensive care unit. In the Central zone, 55 are hospitalized – 10 of those individuals are in an ICU.