'Welcome to Stage 2, Alberta': Province moves ahead in reopening plan, 2nd dose delivery ramped up
Albertans who received their COVID-19 vaccine in April or earlier are now eligible to book their second-dose appointment, the premier announced Thursday as the province moved to the next stage of reopening.
“Welcome to Stage 2 Alberta,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “We are so much closer to a post-pandemic reality.
“This is an exciting time for our province as we move into the last phase of this brutal pandemic."
The threshold to reach Stage 2 requires 60 per cent of Albertans aged 12 or older receiving their first vaccine dose and fewer that 500 hospitalizations. Under the new restrictions, outdoor gatherings up to 20 people are permitted, gyms and fitness studios can open, and restaurants may resume indoor dining with a maximum of six people per table.
The province reported 178 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday after completing about 5,500 tests. The provincial positivity rate is now 3.3 per cent.
There are 3,810 active cases and 306 patients with COVID-19 in hospital, including 81 in ICU.
The premier said these numbers represent a 31 per cent decrease in hospitalizations since Stage 1 began.
The provincial R value, which helps demonstrate if COVID-19 is spreading, remains below one meaning community transmission is slowing.
Six more deaths from COVID-19 were reported Thursday, including:
- Edmonton zone: a man in his 60s and a woman in her 90s. Both deaths had no known comorbidities.
- North zone: a man in his 40s with no known comorbidities and a man in his 70s with comorbidities.
- South zone: a man in his 60s with comorbidities.
- Calgary zone: a women in her 70s with comorbidities.
“This encouraging trend is important to maintain,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “As we move into Stage 2 today, it remains critical for all of us to follow all of the public health measures that are currently in place.”
According to the premier, Stage 2 keeps strong public health measures in place to keep case counts low as more people get immunity from vaccines.
“I’d like to again offer my thanks to every Albertan who has taken the step to get vaccinated,” Kenney said. “You’ve chosen to protect not only yourself but those around you and really to protect our whole province.”
- Alberta premier hopes cities stay in lockstep when provincial COVID-19 mask rules lift
- 2 out of 3 eligible Albertans have now had a first COVID-19 shot as province reports 139 new cases Tuesday
- Delta variant poses 4th-wave risk without linking reopening to second doses: docs
SECOND DOSE DELIVERY RAMP-UP
According to the premier, the ramp up in vaccine bookings means another 650,000 Albertans can start booking immunization appointments.
“We have made remarkable progress,” Kenney said. Albertans have worked incredibly hard to crush the spike and get vaccinated against COVID-19. But we still have work to do.”
"Albertans need to continue to sign up, show up and follow up for all first and second doses so we can finally put this pandemic behind us.”
SNOWBIRDS ASKED TO SUBMIT VACCINE RECORDS
Albertans who received their COVID-19 vaccinations outside of Canada or Alberta are being asked to submit their immunization records to Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Anyone who received a first, second, or both doses outside of Alberta can bring their vaccination records to any of the 141 AHS immunization clinics throughout the province to update their medical records and ensure their vaccination status is included in the province’s overall vaccine tally.
“I am pleased that there are many Albertans who made the choice to be vaccinated while vacationing away from home,” said Tyler Shandro, minister of health.
“We are determined to make sure that every Albertan, no matter where they were vaccinated, is able to access their records via their MyHealth Records account.”
Tyler Shandro, minister of health, said Alberta leads the country for the number of fully vaccinated people.
Approximately 16 per cent of Albertans aged 12 or over are fully vaccinated while the national average is about 11 per cent overall.
“We are the highest of the four largest provinces by a wide margin,” Shandro said. “Now we are taking another step forward.”
For those who received an AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose, Shandro said the decision on what second dose vaccine to receive is “your choice.”
“We recommend you wait eight weeks though from your first dose, and it’s your choice whether you book a second dose of AstraZeneca, or whether you choose a second dose of one of the two mRNA vaccines.”
The premier spoke to Albertans who believe they do not need to be vaccinated because everyone else around them is receiving immunity from vaccines.
“That is not the Alberta way,” he said. “To let others determine our destiny.
“Our opening is not guaranteed, Alberta. We need to continue getting first doses into arms if we want to reach Stage 3 and full openness.”
INCENTIVES FOR VACCINES?
Kenney was asked if Alberta had made a decision on offering vaccine incentives to help drive immunization uptake.
The premier said Shandro would be presenting options to cabinet next Monday.
“We're at the point now where we really have to start shaking the trees on for that first dose demand,” Kenney said. “We haven't made final decisions but we're giving it a serious look.”
Hinshaw clarified that if there is any incentive offered it would take into account all Albertans who have already received their vaccination.
“You are going to be eligible if a lottery goes ahead so don't wait to take the opportunity you have right now (to get vaccinated),” she said.
In May, the premier said the province was exploring the option of offering incentives for those who got vaccinated.
- 'No stone unturned': Alta. considering every option to ensure as many get vaccinated for COVID-19 as possible
Several businesses in Alberta have offered perks, discounts, free food or beverages for those who have been immunized against COVID-19. The University of Lethbridge created a contest to grant free tuition to nine lucky vaccinated students.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Follow the CTVNews.ca live blog for real-time updates, analysis and 2021 federal election results as they come in. We will also feature updates from the headquarters of every major federal party, as well as dispatches from CTV News reporters in ridings across different parts of the country.
TRUTH TRACKER | Elections Canada reports technical issues, polling station disruptions as Canadians cast their ballots
Elections Canada has apologized after technical problems plagued its website earlier Monday, preventing some Canadians from finding out where their polling station was located, in addition to several disruptions at polling stations across the country.
TRUTH TRACKER | Live updates: Tracking instances of election night voting irregularities and misinformation
Follow our CTVNews.ca Truth Tracker live blog for real-time analysis, as we keep an eye on instances of voting irregularities as well as election night misinformation spread through social media.
With about 1 million voters sending in their 2021 ballots by mail, Canadians may have to wait longer than usual to find out who will form the next government.
The collision happened at the voting station at the Sunshine Academy at 65 Sunshine St.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has announced its first clear indication that it is preparing to ease travel restrictions first imposed in March 2020, but details are in short supply, including how the new policy will specifically impact travel at the Canada-U.S. land border, where non-essential visitors remain prohibited from crossing.
New report suggests 75 per cent of dementia cases are undiagnosed, with 'tsunami' of new diagnoses on the horizon
According to a new report looking at Alzheimer’s disease and dementia worldwide, around 75 per cent of all dementia cases are undiagnosed — and due to advancements in treatments and testing, there could be a 'tsunami of demand' for diagnosis in the next few years.
Prince Andrew has been served in the United States with a sexual assault lawsuit by a woman who said his conduct occurred around when his friend Jeffrey Epstein was sexually abusing her, court papers show.
Canadians headed to the polls on Monday to elect the next leader of the federal government.
CTV News has declared that People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has been defeated in his home riding of Beauce, Que.
Gary Vidal has defeated former Saskatchewan NDP MLA Buckley Belanger, who was running for the federal Liberals, to win Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River for the Conservatives.
Saskatoon police say they will work with Public Health in response to apparent violations of Saskatchewan’s masking rules at the People’s Party of Canada campaign rally.
Voters in Atlantic Canada loosened Justin Trudeau's grip on the region Monday by delivering a handful of new seats to the Conservatives, signalling a mild rebuke of the Liberal leader's decision to call an election during the pandemic's fourth wave.
Health officials in New Brunswick are reinstating a mandatory mask policy in the province, as they report 199 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a single-day record 75 new cases on Sunday.
Results in B.C. will go a long way toward determining the size of the Liberals' minority government caucus.
The polls are closed in B.C. and the results are coming in. Check back on this list for updates as the CTV News Decision Desk monitors the province's 42 ridings.
The CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca team is ready to bring you all of the federal election news from the region.
Incumbent Charlie Angus has been declared the winner of the Timmins-James Bay riding by the CTV News desk.
Canadians are heading to the polls today for the 44th general election.
CTV Decision Desk is declaring that Terry Duguid of the Liberal Party will be re-elected in Winnipeg South.
As the votes are being counted across Canada, CTV News is tracking all seven Vancouver Island ridings.
Canada's 2021 federal election is underway Monday with polls set to close on Vancouver Island at 7 p.m.
LIVE RESULTS | Federal election results in Ontario as they come in
Live election results in Canada are flowing in as a 36-day campaign comes to an end.
Heading to the polls, there were still a number of ridings where anything can happen. Here is a list of GTA ridings to watch on election day.
Early election results have the Liberals leading in Quebec after a race dominated by frequent appeals to Quebec nationalism.
It took one voter two hours to vote in Blainville, Que., home to one of the most hotly contested races in the federal election.
A 36-day federal election campaign has come to an end as Canadians cast their ballots to determine who will form the next government.
With long lines reported at polling stations across the country, Elections Canada is reminding Canadians that anyone in line when polls closed will be able to vote.
Follow along with the latest federal election results for Waterloo Region.
Liberal incumbent Bardish Chagger has been declared the winner of the Waterloo riding by CTV News’ Decision Desk.