As Alberta’s COVID-19 caseload falls to the lowest level since early October, the province is entering a “new phase” in the pandemic, said the province’s top public health official.
Alberta’s active COVID-19 caseload has fallen to 1,773, the lowest number since Oct. 2. The province reported 57 new cases of the virus Tuesday, including 38 variants, said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in her daily update on Tuesday.
There are 200 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 54 in the ICU. A Central zone man in his 60s died, bringing the provincial virus death toll to 2,290.
Hinshaw said while most restrictions will soon be easing on July 1 “we need to learn how to live with this virus without these rules.”
“It will be critical in the next few months, especially as we continue to increase second-dose coverage, that we support each other to manage risk in ways that make sense for the context and risk factors that people have.”
Avoiding crowded indoor areas and continuing to wear a mask remain “reasonable choices for those have risk factors for severe outcomes or for those who haven’t yet gotten their second dose,” she said.
Hinshaw encouraged Albertans to continue to wash their hands regularly and keeping away from others when they’re sick.
Isolation and quarantining may be required in specific cases and masking will continue to be required in continuing care and acute care settings. Masks will also still be required on public transit, in taxes and ride-sharing services.
Hinshaw said she will be waiting at least until two weeks after her second dose, which she got recently, before she stops using a mask.
Alberta does not intend to create a vaccine passport but Albertans get a vaccination form when they receive a shot. Proof of vaccination can also be downloaded through the online MyHealth Records account.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes to establish a national certification of vaccination status by the fall.
Red Deer has dropped to 54 active cases, down 12 from Monday. The city had nearly 900 cases of the virus in early May.
The Central zone sits at 179 active cases, with 18 people in hospital, including six in the ICU.
Just under 71 per cent of Albertans over the age of 12 have received at least one dose and three out of 10 Albertans are now fully immunized.
Over the past six months, Moderna has shown a 93 per cent protection rate against the virus after a second dose. Pfizer is at 90 per cent.
Hinshaw said the vaccine is not perfect and in a small number of cases some may get re-infected, end up in hospital, or even die from the virus.
Given the dropping caseload numbers, the province plans to stop providing weekend tallies. Hinshaw also intends to stop providing daily updates — she has done 230 — as of Tuesday. News conferences could be called for specific updates.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 12 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has eight active and Clearwater County sits at seven active.
Lacombe has 12 active and Sylvan Lake has seven, while Olds sits at three active. Mountain View County sits at two active, Kneehill County has seven active and Drumheller has no active cases. Camrose County sits at two active cases and the County of Stettler has four.
Camrose is at three active cases and Wetaskiwin has two active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 27 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has no active cases. Rimbey, including parts of Lacombe County has three active.