Alberta expected to reopen in May

Alberta expected to reopen in May

Province provides daily update

Premier Jason Kenney says some aspects of the provincial economy will open in May.

“I do hope we’ll be able to begin reopening social and economical aspects of life that have currently been suspended in the month of May,” said Kenney Tuesday.

More details on the phased relaunch strategy, including dates, will be revealed later in the week. The strategy will be similar to Saskatchewan’s relaunch approach.

“Similar, but not identical,” said Kenney Tuesday.

“Some of this we’re going to have to make final decisions as we get closer to them, based on how well we do,” Kenney explained. “Hopefully we’ve contained recent outbreaks. We’re going to have to monitor those very closely, monitor the other key points of data.

Alberta confirmed 154 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 4,850.

Officials confirmed five new deaths, bringing the provincial deaths due to the novel coronavirus at 80.

Red Deer remains at five active COVID-19 cases, just as Monday. The city has 35 cases of the virus, with 30 recovered.

As of Tuesday, 1,800 people have recovered in the province.

Kenney said there are 82 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, as of Tuesday, and, of those, 21 are in intensive care unit.

“The number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions remain well below the levels that were modelled (three weeks ago),” he said.

The collective efforts of Albertans – following public health measures – is working, he said, adding that the province needs to continue to remain vigilant.

“The health care system continues to be able, very capably, to manage the impact of COVID-19,” Kenney said.

The government has introduced a new “low” modelling scenario estimating 298 Albertans will require hospitalization and 95 will require critical care when the virus reaches its peak.

“If current trends continue, this scenario will become the most likely scenario for Alberta, and let’s hope that is the case,” said Kenney.

The premier said the province is seeing lower hospitalization rates, compared to other jurisdictions, due to younger population in the country and a high testing rate. The high rate of testing means there is a higher proportion of confirmed cases with relatively weak symptoms, that do not require acute or critical care in hospitals, he explained.

The government officials continue to watch hospitalization numbers, intensive care unit capacity and the rate of growth in COVID-19 cases.

Updated modelling scenarios continue to estimate that Alberta’s outbreak will reach its peak in late May. However, the number of Albertans hospitalized at the peak of the virus is predicted to be lower than originally estimated.

The updated probable scenario estimates 596 people will require hospitalization when the virus reaches its peak – a reduction from previous planning scenario at 818. This scenario estimates 190 people will require critical care in ICU’s, when the virus reaches its peak, compared to the previous number of 232.

The new elevated scenario estimates 745 people will require hospitalization when virus reaches its peak, a reduction from the previous planning scenario of 1,570. This scenario suggests 248 will require critical care, during the virus’s peak, compared to the previous number of nearly 400.

“It is essential Albertans continue to exercise common sense and follow public health guidance so we can get the economy moving again as quickly as possible,” Kenney said.

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