ALBERTA— The province will be moving back to Step 1 of the Alberta Path Forward due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday (April 6) new public health measures were essential in the province, “to start bending down the curve one last time.”
“In the race between variants and the virus, the variants are winning,” Kenney said. “These variants are a real enemy of public health and of lives.”
Based on current data the province is on track to hit a weekly average of about 2,000 daily cases by the end of the month based only on the transmission that has occurred to date, Kenney said. There is also an expectation the province will see 1,000 COVID-hospitalizations by the end of April.
The return to Step 1 is designed to reduce in-person interactions to help bend the curve of COVID-19 transmission in the province.
As part of Step 1 places of worship, retail services and shopping malls will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, only one-on-one training will be allowed at indoor fitness facilities and adult performance activities will not be permitted.
Personal and wellness services remain open by appointment only.
Indoor social gatherings remain prohibited, but outdoor activities with 10 people or less are allowed.
These changes take effect today at midnight, and on noon Friday (April 9) restaurants will be restricted to providing takeout, delivery and patio service only.
The Town of Cochrane reported 83 active cases of COVID-19 as of the end of the day Monday (April 5). To date, the town has reported 467 cases— Two people have died and 382 people have recovered.
Five schools in Cochrane are reporting multiple cases of COVID-19. Bow Valley High School is reporting an outbreak of ten or more cases of the virus, Cochrane High School is reporting an outbreak of 10 or more cases of COVID-19, Fireside School is on alert for two to four cases of the virus, Glenbow Elementary School is on alert for two to four cases of COVID-19 and St. Timothy School is on alert for two to four cases of the virus.
In Rocky View County, Springbank Community High School and the Edge School for Athletes are reporting an outbreak of 10 or more cases of the virus. Springbank Middle School is reporting an outbreak of five to nine cases of COVID-19 and Bearspaw School is on alert for two to four cases of the virus
In the last 24-hours, the province identified 931 new cases of COVID-19 after completing 9,100 tests. These cases include 676 variants of concern.
The provincial testing positivity rate currently sits at 10.2 per cent.
There is 328 COVID-related hospitalizations, including 76 patients in intensive care.
Three additional COVID-related deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. To date, 2,001 Albertans have died.
“As premier, I cannot in good conscience ignore the evidence and opt for a policy that could result in hundred preventable deaths,” Kenney said. “The government cannot ignore the science, we cannot ignore the medical advice and we cannot ignore the numbers.”
Kenney noted the province will be expanding vaccine availability starting Wednesday to allow more Albertans access to immunization under Phase 2B of the provincial vaccine rollout.
To date, more than 734,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta.
Every Albertan adult is expected to be able to receive the vaccine if they choose by the end of June.
“There is no question that vaccination is our ticket out of this,” Kenney said. “Widespread vaccination is the finish line we all need to head for.”