Alberta reports 1,519 new COVID-19 cases, 29 deaths
Alberta reported 1,519 new COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths on Tuesday as Tyler Shandro resigned from his position as health minister.
The province has 20,917 active cases and 996 hospitalizations, including 222 ICU admissions.
Alberta Health Services' ICU capacity is at 87 per cent including surge beds, according to Premier Jason Kenney.
The 29 deaths increased Alberta's pandemic death toll to 2,574.
"Some of these individuals were double vaccinated and had pre-existing health conditions that compromised their immune systems, but most were not vaccinated at all," Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
More immunocompromised Albertans will be eligible to get a booster shot starting on Friday, the premier announced.
The expansion includes people with Stage 3 or advanced HIV, transplant recipients and patients with chronic kidney disease.
"The data shows that individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions do not develop as robust an immune response from two doses and benefit from a third dose," Hinshaw said.
Booster shots will be available at least eight weeks after the second dose.
Of eligible Albertans, 81.4 per cent have one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 72.8 per cent have two doses.
NEW HEALTH MINISTER
In a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday afternoon, former Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping became Alberta's health minister.
Kenney said Shandro offered his resignation and he accepted it, and Shandro will take over Copping's previous portfolio.
Copping told reporters his main three goals are to increase hospital capacity permanently, educate vaccine-hesitant Albertans and prepare the health system to respond to potential future waves.
Alberta health officials will give another COVID-19 update later this week.