Ten new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday in St. Albert

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Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed overnight in St. Albert, with 32 more people listed as having recovered from the virus..

On Tuesday, new provincial numbers were released showing a decrease in active cases in the city, from 339, dropping by 24 cases down to 315.

The province counted an additional two deaths for the city, bringing the total deaths since the pandemic began up to 15. Many of the deaths in the city have been linked to outbreaks at senior and care homes, including nine reported recently at the Chartwell retirement home.

In Sturgeon County, there are currently 68 active cases with 442 people having recovered since the pandemic began. In Morinville there are currently 66 active cases with 230 people having recovered. The town had another death reported overnight, brining the total to four since the pandemic began.

Across the province, COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, although chief medical officer of health Deena Hinshaw noted it may be attributed to fewer people getting COVID-19 tests over the holidays.

In the past 24 hours there were 879 people who tested positive for the virus in Alberta, bringing the active cases of COVID-19 in the province to 14,785/.

There were 11,000 tests run overnight with a positivity rate of 7.7 per cent.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reported Tuesday there are 890 Albertans in the hospital, with 153 of those in the ICU.

Overnight there were an additional 26 deaths, bringing the total up to 1,028 Albertans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Alberta received 16,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday and the doses will be given to people in continuing care facilities, as they have been the hardest hit by the virus.

The Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored at the same cold temperatures as the Pfizer vaccine, so it can be more easily transported co continuing care sites across the province.

The vaccine will be delivered to sites in Calgary, St. Paul, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Edmonton, and doses will also be offered to residents at six First Nation congregate living facilities on-reserve. The Provincial Vaccine Depot will also receive vaccine for further distribution to rural and remote communities.

Immunization of residents in continuing care facilities will start on Dec. 30.

“The arrival of Moderna in the province is another sign of hope – and as more vaccines arrive, we will ensure Albertans who wish to be vaccinated are immunized as quickly as possible when they are eligible. Everyone who wants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to when their turn arrives," Kenney said in a statement.

Kenney says by the end of today, 7,000 healthcare workers will have been vaccinated using the Pfizer vaccine.

As more shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines arrive in early January, immunization will focus on residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, followed by seniors aged 75 and over and residents aged 65 and over of First Nations reserve communities and Metis settlements. Immunization of respiratory therapists, intensive care physicians and staff, and long-term care and designated supportive living facility workers across Alberta will continue.

Phase 2 is still expected to start by April 2021. Final decisions regarding the sequencing of populations to receive the vaccine in Phase 2 have not yet been determined.

Phase 3 will involve rolling out vaccinations to the general Alberta population, and is anticipated to start later in 2021.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette