Alberta is one step closer to advancing its reopening plan as hospitalizations drop below a provincial target.
The province announced more than 60 per cent of eligible Albertans had received their first dose on Friday, a benchmark paving the way for Stage 2 of reopening as early as June 10.
That move would be conditional on hospitalizations being below 500 and decreasing, however.
Alberta reported 478 people in hospital on Saturday, a decrease of 39 from the previous day. Of those, 140 were in intensive care units.
Eight more deaths from the disease were recorded, bringing the total to 2,214.
The province also reported 406 new cases of COVID-19 but saw an overall drop of 803 total active cases, down to 8,474. The positivity rate was 5.97 per cent on Friday after 6,882 tests, the first time the rate has dipped below 6 per cent since late March.
Here is how active cases breakdown by health zone:
Calgary zone: 3,459
Edmonton zone: 2,239
North zone: 1,254
Central zone: 1,002
South zone: 518
The relaxation of public health orders under Stage 2 would see theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries reopen at a third of capacity and restaurants allowed to seat up to six people indoors from different households.
Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people would be permitted while concerts and festivals could go ahead with up to 150 people.
Stage 3 — the removal of all restrictions — is slated to begin two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans receive their first shot of vaccine with no metric for hospitalizations attached.
Another 46,000 doses were administered on Friday with 61.5 per cent of Albertans 12 and older now having received their first shot.