Alberta reported an additional 479 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.
With cases slowly rising, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, advised Albertans to stay home over the upcoming spring break.
She said that if people do wish to travel within Alberta during spring break, they do so just with their household. She strongly recommended against inter-provincial travel over the break.
“It’s clear that in many other provinces, the spread of COVID-19 and variant cases, in particular, are escalating,” she said.
“Travelling at this time outside of the province risks further escalating that sort of spread, particularly as we in Alberta are seeing spread of variant cases.”
Hinshaw added that the province is at a critical juncture with COVID-19 and unnecessary travel could put Alberta’s progress at risk.
“Individuals who are wanting to do something for spring break I would recommend staying relatively close to home, doing something with households or perhaps outdoor social gatherings,” she said.
“We are at a very important time when we are seeing variant cases spread. We haven’t yet reached our vaccination coverage that we need to prevent severe outcomes. For the next couple of months, including spring break, we need to hold on and protect our communities with our choices.”
Hinshaw said out of about 10,000 COVID-19 tests completed over the past 24 hours, there was about a 4.7 per cent positivity rate.
She added there were 50 new COVID-19 variant cases in the province and over 1,000 total. The Central zone has 189 cases of the variant. There are 262 people in hospital, including 44 in intensive care.
Alberta has 4,918 active cases of the virus, and Red Deer sits at 96 active cases.
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 14 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 33 active and Clearwater County sits at 32 active.
Lacombe has 30 active and Sylvan Lake has 14 active cases, while Olds sits at 10 active. Mountain View County sits at 16 active, Kneehill County has three active and Drumheller has 59 active.
Camrose County and County of Stettler have one and six active cases, respectively. Camrose has one active case and Wetaskiwin has 24 active.
In the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 45 active cases. Ponoka, including east Ponoka County, has 57 active.
Rimbey, including west Ponoka County and partial Lacombe County, has 20 active cases.
Alberta is also nearing 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered, with 397,500 doses of vaccine issued in the province.
“We are so close to getting through this. With the provincial vaccination program that will see every adult Albertan who wants to be vaccinated receive their first dose by the end of June and the second dose by late summer, we are nearing a safe return to a more normal life,” Hinshaw said.
“With widespread immunization by fall, the risk of gathering with our loved ones for a family dinner or a holiday gathering will drop dramatically… individuals who are wanting to do something for spring break I would recommend staying relatively close to home, doing something with households or perhaps outdoor social gatherings.”