Alberta has reached a milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination program, surpassing the one-million marker for doses administered.
As of April 13, Alberta has administered 1,004,123 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 194,012 Albertans fully immunized with two doses.
“This milestone is proof that we are stronger when we all work together,” Premier Jason Kenney said.
“We would not have reached this milestone without the significant efforts of many Albertans — from those planning logistics to the front-line workers delivering immunizations.
“Thanks to our province’s rapidly growing capacity to deliver vaccines quickly and safely into the arms of Albertans, as well as a recent boost in the number of vaccines coming in to our province, a safer return to normal is drawing nearer,” Kenney said.
Alberta reported 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, along with eight additional deaths from the disease.
Also Wednesday, 778 variants of concern were identified in the province. Variants now make up about 52.6 per cent of all active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
About 15,738 tests were completed, putting the province’s positivity rate at 9.1 per cent.
The province also reported eight additional deaths from the disease, bringing the province’s death toll to 2,029.
Four of the deaths occurred in the Edmonton zone. Two men in their 60s and a man in his 80s died. All three deaths included comorbidities. A woman in her 60s linked to the outbreak at Covenant Health St. Joseph’s also died. Her death included comorbidities.
Three deaths occurred in the Central zone. A man in his 60s and a woman in her 60s died. Both deaths included comorbidities. A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Exendicare Michener Hill also died. His case included comorbidities.
A man in his 60s in the South zone with comorbidities also died.
There are 420 people in hospital with COVID-19, 92 of whom are being treated in intensive care.
Alberta Health Services said Wednesday it has added 10 additional ICU beds in the Edmonton zone, for a total of 82 general adult ICU beds.
AHS said it continues to have adequate capacity in its hospitals and can expand capacity as needed, as was the case during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health warned of rising hospitalization numbers on Tuesday, as the province surpassed 400 people in hospital with COVID-19.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the spike could lead to more public health restrictions being announced.
Active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta are also on the rise, hitting 15,569 Wednesday. Of those, 7,166 are in the Calgary zone, 3,960 are in the Edmonton zone, 2,067 are in the North zone, 1,402 are in the Central zone, 915 are in the South zone and 59 are not tied to a particular zone.
Hinshaw said on Twitter she will provide her next in-person COVID-19 update on Thursday.
Earlier this week, more rapid flow-through vaccination clinics opened in Alberta.
On Monday, a mass vaccination site started providing immunization by appointment at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Currently, it’s only offering the AstraZeneca vaccine, meaning only people 55 to 64 years old are eligible.
According to Alberta Health Service’s online booking site, hundreds of vaccine appointments appeared to still be open at the facility.
As of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, 249 people were booked to be immunized at the Expo Centre that day, an AHS spokesperson said.
About 520 people received their immunization at the site on Tuesday, with a one per cent no-show rate, AHS said.
“There were no line ups. Walked right in. Actually, I got in early,” said Joanne Scott, as she came out of the centre. “There was like three other people sitting with me in a seating area of about 200 chairs.
“I’m pretty surprised that there’s not a lot of people here.”
An AHS spokesperson said it expected uptake to be slow, so it’s not currently running the site at full capacity.
“It’s very efficient. You go right up and they get everything taken care of very quickly,” said Mike Schubert, after getting his vaccine. “I only booked yesterday and got in today.”
The Expo Centre will have the ability to administer other vaccines in the future.
— with files from Kim Smith, Global NewsView link »