Alberta reports 301 new COVID-19 cases, ahead of decision on Step 2 restrictions

·2 min read
Staff on the ICU Unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary on April 17, 2020. (Leah Hennel/AHS - image credit)
Staff on the ICU Unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary on April 17, 2020. (Leah Hennel/AHS - image credit)

Alberta reported 301 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a day before an expected announcement from the government about whether it will ease some public health restrictions.

Active cases stood at 4,585 across the province on Sunday. Alberta reported three additional deaths from COVID-19 since Saturday's update, including a woman in her 90s connected to the outbreak at Youville long-term care home in St. Albert.

A woman in her 70s from the Edmonton zone and a man in his 70s from the Calgary zone were the other two reported deaths on Sunday.

The province set out two benchmarks to consider before moving between different steps of its plan to lift restrictions: time and hospitalizations. Monday will mark the specified three weeks since the province moved into Phase 1, when restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen for indoor service.

The province remains well below its 450 hospitalizations benchmark for moving to Step 2.

Hospitalizations dropped by 12 since yesterday's update, with 250 people in hospital, including 46 who are in intensive care units, according to numbers posted by Alberta Health on Sunday.

If the province announces Monday its intent to move to Step 2 — which could see Alberta let up capacity limits on retail and reopen banquet halls — it may be another week before those eased restrictions come into force. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer, has said the province will strive to give businesses a week to prepare for changes to public health restrictions.

Healthcare workers administered another 8,982 vaccine doses yesterday, bringing the total to 227,678. As of Sunday's update, 87,695 Albertans had been fully immunized with two doses of vaccine.

Provincial labs completed 7,503 COVID tests on Saturday, with a positivity rate of 4.03 per cent.

The number of COVID-19 virus variants, of the kind first identified in the U.K., increased by 27 cases to a total 422 in the province.

Here is the breakdown of active cases by health zone:

  • Calgary zone: 1,551

  • Edmonton zone: 970

  • Central zone: 670

  • South zone: 319

  • North zone: 1,059

  • Unknown: 15

As part of its continuing investigation, Parkland County RCMP said officers attended on Sunday another over-capacity service at Gracelife Church, home to pastor James Coates who led the church in its open defiance of public health orders for months before his arrest.

RCMP said it remained "engaged in continued consultations with several partner agencies to determine the most productive course of action," but no further information was available.