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60% of eligible Albertans vaccinated against COVID-19, next stage could reopen June 10

Click to play video: '‘I support this plan’: Hinshaw believes Alberta COVID-19 ‘Open For Summer’ strategy will work' ‘I support this plan’: Hinshaw believes Alberta COVID-19 ‘Open For Summer’ strategy will work
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the ‘Open For Summer’ plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta was based on the original draft submitted by her team. – May 27, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: Alberta Health said Friday that the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province was 8,760. Later, the number was updated to 9,277. This article has been updated to reflect the new information.

Sixty per cent of eligible Abertans have now received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccines, the province announced on Friday.

That means Stage 2 of Alberta’s “Open for Summer” plan could begin on June 10. Hospitalizations would need to be below 500 and declining for that to go forward.

“With our vaccination program protecting more Albertans every day and fewer Albertans in hospital due to COVID-19, we are on the right track to a safe reopening,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a news release.

Read more: COVID-19: Kenney outlines Alberta’s reopening plan for summer

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Kenney announced the reopening plan on Wednesday, putting the emphasis on the number of people vaccinated and the number of people in hospital as the metric to watch for easing of restrictions.

The next stage of the three-stage plan will come into effect two weeks after the threshold is met.

“The next two weeks will be a critical time for Alberta,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “The more we can drive our numbers down in the next few weeks by all following public health measures, and the more Albertans who are protected by immunization, the more successful we will be in our opening.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s three-stage reopening plan to start in June' Alberta’s three-stage reopening plan to start in June
Alberta’s three-stage reopening plan to start in June – May 26, 2021

As of Friday, there were 517 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19. (Click here for Friday’s COVID-19 numbers)

Stage 2 would allow an easing of a number of restrictions, including increasing outdoor social gatherings to 20 people with distancing still in effect, allowing up to six people to eat at a table at a restaurant indoors or outdoors, increasing retail capacity indoor settings like arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries being allowed to reopen with up to one-third fire capacity.

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Indoor masking and distance requirements will remain in place in Stage 2.

A full breakdown of Stage 2 is available on the government’s website.

Read more: 2nd COVID-19 shots should be offered ‘as soon as possible’: NACI

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization said Friday that second doses should be doled out as soon as possible as supply increases.

Premier Jason Kenney said a plan for second doses in Alberta will be released next week.

Click to play video: 'Kenney says announcement on COVID-19 vaccine second doses coming next week after NACI update' Kenney says announcement on COVID-19 vaccine second doses coming next week after NACI update
Kenney says announcement on COVID-19 vaccine second doses coming next week after NACI update – May 28, 2021

Friday COVID-19 numbers

Alberta confirmed an additional 512 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 9,277. That’s the first time active cases have been below 10,000 since April 2.

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The province performed 7,703 COVID-19 tests, putting the positivity rate at around 6.95 per cent.

There were 517 people in hospital receiving care for the novel coronavirus, with 147 of those people in the ICU.

Read more: Alberta announces $45M in funding to help young students struggling with reading, math

Seven additional deaths were reported to Alberta Health over the last 24 hours.

A man in his 60s and a man in his 70s from Calgary zone have died with no known comorbidities. In Edmonton zone, a woman in her 80s, a man in his 70s and a man in his 60s have also died. All three had known comorbidities.

Click to play video: 'Kenney asks Albertans to get COVID-19 vaccine information from official sources, not Facebook' Kenney asks Albertans to get COVID-19 vaccine information from official sources, not Facebook
Kenney asks Albertans to get COVID-19 vaccine information from official sources, not Facebook – May 28, 2021

A woman in her 70s died in the North zone and a woman in her 60s died in the South zone. Neither case had known comorbidities.

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Alberta has now had 2,206 COVID-19 deaths.

There were 3,809 active cases in the Calgary zone and 2,450 in the Edmonton zone. The Central zone reported 1,066 active cases, there were 558 in the South zone and 1,392 in the North zone. There were two active cases not attributed to a specific zone.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 226,449 Albertans have tested positive for COVID-19, while 214,966 have recovered.

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