'This is a problem': Alberta decides against Step 3, Shandro cites growing COVID-19 hospitalizations
EDMONTON -- Alberta is not entering Step 3 of reopening on Monday as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations grow, the health minister said.
As part of Step 3, Alberta would have loosened restrictions for adult and youth sports, places of worship, museums, movie theatres, art galleries, zoos, casinos and indoor social gatherings.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are under the 300-threshhold to enter Step 3, but they grew by 16 to a total of 280 over the past week.
"This is a problem and a warning sign we must take seriously," Tyler Shandro said, adding the province expects hospitalizations to climb to 300 within the week.
"It is absolutely necessary to help us avoid a third wave that will take more lives and once again put more pressure on the hospital system."
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported another 456 COVID-19 cases, including 110 of the B.1.17 variant, and a positivity rate of 6.1 per cent on Monday.
Sixteen per cent of Alberta's 6,176 cases are of the variant of concerns, Shandro and Hinshaw said.
"This is not the direction we want to be heading in as a province," the health minister said.
Hinshaw also announced five more deaths, increasing the total to 1,968.
Alberta Health Services has administered 487,493 vaccine doses to date.