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Alberta identifies 313 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as province prepares for Stage 2 reopening

Click to play video: 'Edmonton businesses recall employees ahead of Alberta moving to Stage 2 of the reopening on Thursday' Edmonton businesses recall employees ahead of Alberta moving to Stage 2 of the reopening on Thursday
Alberta's COVID-19 restrictions will lift even more on Thursday, when restaurants can reopen their dining rooms and casinos can welcome guests back too. As Nicole Stillger explains, it also means recalling staff. – Jun 9, 2021

Alberta identified 313 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and five additional deaths from the disease, as the province prepares to move into Stage 2 of its “Open for Summer” plan.

The new cases came from about 8,545 tests, putting the province’s positivity rate at about 3.7 per cent.

There are now 329 people in hospital with COVID-19, 83 of whom are being treated in intensive care.

Read more: COVID-19: Drop-in 1st doses of vaccine available at Edmonton Expo Centre

Of the five deaths reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours, three were in the Edmonton zone. A man in his 70s with no known comorbidities, a man in his 70s with comorbidities and a woman in her 70s with comorbidities died.

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A woman in her 60s with no known comorbidities died in the Calgary zone. A man in his 60s with comorbidities died in the North zone.

Alberta’s death toll from COVID-19 has now reached 2,256.

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton to reopen facilities as COVID-19 restrictions ease' City of Edmonton to reopen facilities as COVID-19 restrictions ease
City of Edmonton to reopen facilities as COVID-19 restrictions ease – Jun 8, 2021

There are now 4,204 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, down from 4,431 active cases on Tuesday.

Alberta has now administered 3,157,862 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. So far, 67.2 per cent of Albertans 12 and older have received one dose of vaccine and 15.7 per cent of the same age group is fully vaccinated with two doses.

That translates to 57.3 per cent of Alberta’s total population with one dose of vaccine and 13.4 per cent fully vaccinated.

Alberta moves into Stage 2

On Thursday, Stage 2 of Alberta’s “Open for Summer” plan takes effect. The threshold for Stage 2 was that two weeks had passed since 60 per cent of eligible Albertans age 12 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and that hospitalizations from disease are below 500 and declining.

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Alberta hit the 60 per cent vaccination threshold on May 28.

Read more: Hinshaw urges ongoing caution, vaccinations when Alberta drops COVID-19 restrictions

Stage 2 increases capacity limits at retail stores, allows walk-ins at personal wellness services and allows for indoor dining again at restaurants, with some public health measures still in place.

“There is a little bit of anxiety and excitement because it’s been exactly two months to the day that we’ve been not allowed to have people in our restaurant,” said Thomas Feuchter, owner of Barb and Ernie’s restaurant in Edmonton.

“It’s just trying to get everything ready now and get everything cleaned up and ready to go. But it’s going to be an exciting weekend… I can’t wait.”

Other businesses like recreation centres, museums, casinos and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with some limitations. Some of these businesses have been shuttered for months.

“Our staff is very happy coming back and the excitement is in the air and they’re so happy to be back. We can’t wait to welcome our customers back tomorrow,” said Vik Mahajan, CEO of the River Cree Resort and Casino.

The facility on the western edge of Edmonton closed on Dec. 12 and hasn’t reopened since. The reopening means recalling about 800 employees who were temporarily laid off.

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“I think it’s going to be beautiful here tomorrow. People are so excited, our associates are so excited to see our customers back, to be back at work,” Mahajan said.

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