Update 201: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 15, 5 p.m.)
Phase 2A of Alberta’s immunization plan is now open for bookings. Continue to follow all health guidelines in place to protect each other and the health-care system.
Over the last 24 hours, 364 new cases were identified.
There are 255 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 42 in intensive care.
There are 4,811 active cases in the province.
To date, 132,028 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
In the last 24 hours, there were three additional COVID-related deaths reported: one on March 13 and two on March 14.
The testing positivity rate was 5.5 per cent.
There was an increase of 6,618 tests (3,536,280 total) for a total of 1,855,959 people tested.
All zones across the province have cases:
Calgary Zone: 1,779 active cases and 50,653 recovered
South Zone: 588 active cases and 6,446 recovered
Edmonton Zone: 1,160 active cases and 52,839 recovered
North Zone: 818 active cases and 11,878 recovered
Central Zone: 460 active cases and 10,107 recovered
Six active cases and 105 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
Additional information, including case totals, is online.
Alberta has identified 65 additional cases of variants of concern, bringing the provincial total to 985.
Currently, 250 schools, about 10 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 1,106 cases in total.
170 schools are on alert, with 356 total cases.
Outbreaks are declared in 80 schools, with a total of 750 cases.
In-school transmission has likely occurred in 194 schools. Of these, 105 have had only one new case occur as a result.
There are currently 96 active and 9,182 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
To date, 1,230 of the 1,949 reported deaths (63 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.
COVID-19 vaccination program
As of March 14, 368,124 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. This is 8,325 doses per 100,000 population. There are now 91,593 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.
Bookings for Phase 2A of the COVID-19 vaccine program are now open at participating pharmacies and through AHS.
Starting March 16, AHS will open bookings for the next birth years in the 2A cohort. This includes Albertans born in 1948 and First Nations, Métis and Inuit born in 1963 or earlier.
Information on eligibility for Phase 2B and 2C is now available.
Alberta’s phased approach to vaccination focuses first on priority health-care workers and those who are at highest risk of severe outcomes.
Rapid testing update
More than 924,000 rapid tests are being used to help protect workers, students and vulnerable Albertans from COVID-19.
A pilot project for rapid tests in schools will also be launched shortly.
Step 2 restrictions in effect
Updated health measures are in place for retail, hotels and community halls, performance groups, and youth sports, performance and recreation.
Funding for Alberta’s critical workers
The Critical Worker Benefit provides $1,200 to approximately 380,000 public and private sector workers in Alberta.
This includes workers in health care, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans or support food and medical supply chains.
The funds are applied for by employers in the private sector, or automatically distributed to qualifying employees in the public sector.
Strong public health measures remain in place to support the health and safety of students, teachers and staff.
COVID Care Teams outreach
If you or others in your home have been directed to self-isolate/quarantine by Alberta Health Services and are unable to do so safely at home, please contact 211 to discuss options, including accessing an assigned hotel to safely isolate (free of charge). Financial assistance may also be available in the amount of $625, upon completion of the self-isolation period.
Enforcement of public health measures
The government has granted certain Alberta peace officers and community peace officers temporary authority to enforce public health orders.
Not following mandatory restrictions will result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.
Albertans downloading tracer app
All Albertans are encouraged to download the secure ABTraceTogether app, which is integrated with provincial contact tracing. The federal app is not a contact tracing app.
Secure contact tracing is an effective tool to stop the spread by notifying people who were exposed to a confirmed case so they can isolate and be tested.
As of March 15, 310,675 Albertans were using the ABTraceTogether app, 66 per cent on iOS and 34 per cent on Android.
Secure contact tracing is a cornerstone of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy.
MyHealth Records quick access
Parents and guardians can access the COVID-19 test results for children under the age of 18 through MyHealth Records (MHR) as soon as they are ready.
More than 500,000 Albertans have MHR accounts.
All Albertans, especially seniors and those at risk, are encouraged to get immunized against influenza.
To date, 1,560,596 Albertans have received their flu shot.
Addiction and mental health supports
Confidential supports are available. The Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Resources are also available online.
The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.
Online resources provide advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.
Family violence prevention
A 24-hour Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818 provides anonymous help in more than 170 languages.
Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
People fleeing family violence can call local police or the nearest RCMP detachment to apply for an Emergency Protection Order, or follow the steps in the Emergency Protection Orders Telephone Applications (COVID-19).
Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are at alberta.ca/COVID19.
Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.
Legally, all Albertans must physically distance and isolate when sick or with symptoms.
Good hygiene is your best protection: wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into an elbow or sleeve, and dispose of tissues appropriately.
Please share acts of kindness during this difficult time at #AlbertaCares.
Alberta Connects Contact Centre (310-4455) is open Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.