Update 224: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (May 19, 4:15 p.m.)
K-12 students in all but one region of the province will return to classrooms. Albertans should get vaccinated as soon as possible and continue following restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health-care system.
Over the last 24 hours, 908 new cases were identified.
There are 685 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 185 in intensive care.
There are 18,813 active cases in the province.
To date, 200,496 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
In the last 24 hours, there were six additional COVID-related deaths reported: one on May 16, three on May 17, and two on May 18.
The testing positivity rate was 9.1 per cent.
There were 10,392 tests (4,441,575 total) completed in the last 24 hours and a total of 2,120,981 people tested overall.
All zones across the province have cases:
Calgary Zone: 8,683 active cases and 80,609 recovered
South Zone: 925 active cases and 10,880 recovered
Edmonton Zone: 4,446 active cases and 69,755 recovered
North Zone: 2,780 active cases and 21,910 recovered
Central Zone: 1,978 active cases and 17,324 recovered
One active case and 18 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
Additional information, including case totals, is online.
Alberta has identified 517 additional cases of variants of concern, bringing the provincial total to 42,108.
Currently, 793 schools, about 33 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 6,267 cases in total.
349 schools are on alert, with 900 total cases.
Outbreaks are declared in 444 schools, with a total of 5,367 cases.
In-school transmission has likely occurred in 858 schools. Of these, 271 have had only one new case occur as a result.
There are currently 117 active and 9,541 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
To date, 1,253 of the 2,158 reported deaths (58 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.
COVID-19 vaccination program
As of May 18, 2,271,955 doses have been administered in Alberta, including 332,276 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.
All Albertans aged 12 and older are eligible to book appointments through AHS or a participating pharmacy provincewide.
Legislation now allows Albertans up to three hours of paid, job-protected leave to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Beginning May 25, kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Alberta will return to in-person learning except for students in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
Starting May 31, restrictions for continuing care residents who have been vaccinated and are returning after trips outside the facility will change.
Rules for visitors to continuing care facilities have been eased.
New interactive map shows regional vaccination rates
Albertans are now able to track vaccination rates in their local geographic area.
New vaccination campaign
Back to Normal is a new phase of Alberta’s vaccination campaign, intended to emphasize the crucial importance of Albertans getting vaccinated so life can return to normal.
This advertisement is the first element of the campaign. Additional advertising showing other aspects of daily life will be released soon.
Masking exceptions for health conditions
The rules around exemptions from wearing a mask due to a medical condition have changed. Individuals are now required to obtain a medical exception letter verifying their health condition from an authorized health-care provider.
The medical exception letter must come from a nurse practitioner, physician or psychologist. It may be presented when in a public setting, if requested by enforcement officials or retrospectively in court if a ticket is issued.
This is modelled after the approaches currently used in Saskatchewan and other provinces.
Restrictions in place for high case regions
Restrictions are in place. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people, most schools have moved to online learning, retail capacity is reduced and in-person dining and services are not allowed at restaurants, bars and cafés.
Municipalities that have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people and/or fewer than 30 active cases are able to return to Step 0 level restrictions.
Enforcement of public health measures
Fines for non-compliance with public health measures have doubled to $2,000.
Unpaid fines are backstopped with stronger fine collection actions and restrictions on registry services. For example, a person may have to pay their outstanding fine before they can renew their driver’s licence.
Repeat offenders will be targeted with a new multi-agency enforcement framework.
The province has launched a new rapid testing partnership with Alberta Chambers of Commerce.
Businesses and service providers are no longer required to have a health-care provider oversee their rapid testing program.
Rapid tests are available for employers.
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.
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 May 17, 314,644 Albertans were using the ABTraceTogether app, 69 per cent on iOS and 31 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 600,000 Albertans have MHR accounts.
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.