Alberta announced an additional 396 COVID-19 cases Friday.
The province now sits at 6,407 active cases of the virus, with 117,968 people recovered. There are 475 people in hospital, including 89 in intensive care.
There were also nine, additional deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,693 since the start of the pandemic. One new death was in Red Deer, a male in his 60s on Feb. 3. That brings the city’s death toll to 22.
With active cases continuing to fall and hospitalizations below 600, COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be eased Monday, as part of Step 1 of the Alberta’s Government’s four-step Path Forward plan. Fitness facilities will be able to hold one-on-one training with a personal trainer and restaurants can re-open for in-person dining.
While many business owners have celebrated the re-opening, the NDP is calling for a more cautious approach.
“The UCP have imposed restrictions with almost no support for these businesses. And instead of helping them, Jason Kenney is once again pitting public health against the economy,” said Bilous.
“Opening too early and forcing our economy into another shutdown will only make the economic crisis deeper and our recovery longer. We can protect public health and the economy, but that means we need real support for small businesses for the duration of this pandemic.”
Earlier this week, Alberta’s former chief medical officer of health, Dr. James Talbot, wrote to Health Minister Tyler Shandro and warned against Monday’s reopening.
“We believe the announced staged reduction in restrictions is premature and highly risky,” Talbot wrote, citing concerns about COVID-19 variants and a lack of vaccine supply.
As of Thursday, the province said there had been community spread of the COVID-19 variant and that there were 68 cases reported so far.
“Loosening public health restrictions just when we are seeing the arrival of dangerous new COVID variants makes no sense,” said David Shepherd, NDP health critic.
Central zone sits at 642 active cases, with 8,348 recovered. There are 31 people in hospital, including six in the ICU.
Red Deer now has 220 active cases of COVID-19.
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.
Red Deer County sits at 21 active cases and Lacombe County has 28 active.
Sylvan Lake has 31 active, Lacombe has 16 active, Olds has three active and Drumheller has 12 active.
Mountain View County sits at eight active, Kneehill County has two active and Clearwater County has 40 active.
Both the County of Stettler and Camrose County sit at five active each.
Camrose has 32 active and Wetaskiwin has 27 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 125 active cases of the virus. Ponoka County, including East Ponoka County has 13 active. Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has one active.