Hospitalizations surpass 600 as Alberta adds 1,495 COVID-19 cases
EDMONTON -- Alberta added 1,495 COVID-19 cases on Monday as hospitalizations and ICU admissions continue to spike.
The province now has 20,610 active cases, the second highest count to date, and 616 people in hospital, 145 of whom are in intensive care.
Sixty-four per cent of Alberta's cases are now connected to four variants.
"We did predict that we would probably hit 20,000 active cases this week, about three weeks back when we announced those additional measures," Premier Jason Kenney said at a news conference Monday afternoon. "We have seen a decline in the rate of growth, which is good news, but we have to bend that curve down further."
'AN INCREDIBLY TOUGH TIME'
Albertans in settings like continuing care facilities will be able to see more family and friends starting next month.
Premier Kenney announced the province would relax restrictions after more than 83 per cent of Albertans 75 and older and nearly everyone in continuing care facilities received the vaccine.
"This has been an incredibly tough time for all of them," Kenney said.
"These folks need joy, hope and connection, just like everyone else."
Starting May 10, Albertans at continuing care facilities can have indoor social visits with up to four people, as long as the majority of residents at each home agree.
Visitors would have to be from the same household, wear masks and distance. Outdoor visits can expand to 10 people including the resident, the province added.
VACCINE ELIGIBILITY EXPAND
Starting Tuesday Alberta Health Services will begin to vaccinate more than 15,000 meatpacking plant workers and children aged 12-15 with underlying health conditions.
The move to vaccinate young Albertans comes from a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
In March, according to Alberta Health, NACI said the Pfizer vaccine could be given to children in that age group who are at "very high risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19."
AHS had administered 1.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of the end of Sunday.