Update 205: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 22, 4:30 p.m.)
Alberta will not be moving to Step 3 at this time. Continue to follow all public health guidelines in place to protect each other and the health-care system.
Over the last 24 hours, 456 new cases were identified.
There are 280 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 48 in intensive care.
There are 6,176 active cases in the province.
To date, 134,246 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
In the last 24 hours, there were five additional COVID-related deaths reported: two on March 20 and three on March 21.
The testing positivity rate was 6.1 per cent.
There was an increase of 7,547 tests (3,605,024 total) for a total of 1,875,878 people tested.
All zones across the province have cases:
Calgary Zone: 2,598 active cases and 51,452 recovered
South Zone: 780 active cases and 6,659 recovered
Edmonton Zone: 1,407 active cases and 53,378 recovered
North Zone: 789 active cases and 12,316 recovered
Central Zone: 585 active cases and 10,329 recovered
17 active cases and 112 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
Additional information, including case totals, is online.
Alberta has identified 110 additional cases of variants of concern, bringing the provincial total to 1,711.
Currently, 339 schools, about 14 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 1,474 cases in total.
243 schools are on alert, with 494 total cases.
Outbreaks are declared in 96 schools, with a total of 980 cases.
In-school transmission has likely occurred in 241 schools. Of these, 127 have had only one new case occur as a result.
There are currently 80 active and 9,243 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
To date, 1,235 of the 1,968 reported deaths (63 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.
COVID-19 vaccination program
As of March 21, 487,493 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. This is 11,024.5 doses per 100,000 population. There are now 93,414 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.
More than 250 pharmacies now offer immunizations, with further expansions by the end of the month.
Community physicians will offer vaccinations in their clinics starting in April.
Starting March 19, AHS opened bookings for all remaining birth years in the 2A cohort.
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.
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 22, 311,111 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, 1,565,155 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.
Alberta NDP Health Critic David Shepherd issued the following statement:
““While I’m glad Jason Kenney responded to our call to pause on Step 3 re-opening, he still owes Albertans the internal modelling data and written recommendation from Dr. Hinshaw, which he has hidden from Albertans for months.
“There are rising case numbers, rising variant cases, and rising hospitalizations in Alberta, but the Premier failed to show his face, and failed to offer Albertans a plan to respond to this growing danger.
“A third wave is rising, but the decisions the government makes this week will determine how large and how deadly that wave is. Now more than ever, Jason Kenney needs to come clean with Albertans about what he knows and what his intentions are.”