The province cannot take the risk of easing any restrictions at this point, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

The province cannot take the risk of easing any restrictions at this point, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta delays move to Step 3 of reopening

The province was set to move into the next step on Monday

With rising hospitalizations, Alberta has decided to push back moving into Step 3 of its phased reopening.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday that the province expects to see more than 300 hospitalizations within the week.

The number of hospitalizations had to be 300 or under, or showing a decline, for the province to move into Step 3 and as of Monday Alberta sits at 280 COVID hospitalizations.

“There will be no easing of any restrictions at this time. This is the safe move, this is the smart move to make for our province right now,” Shandro said.

“It is absolutely necessary to help us avoid a third wave that would take more lives and once again, put more pressure on the hospital system. This pause is prudent and it’s essential. But I know that for many people it is a disappointment.

“The weather is warming up and we’re all tired of the pandemic and the restrictions on our businesses and activities. Most of all I know Albertans are tired of worrying about this virus and the risk to families and loved ones.”

Officials also indicated there is no specific date to re-assess easing measures in Step 3. Further easing measures will only happen when hospitalizations, which have continually risen over the past seven days, start to decline again. On Friday, the province reported 276 people in hospital compared to 255 on March 15.

Shandro added it would be unfair to ease restrictions Monday, only to reinstate them as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Of people in hospital across the province, Shandro noted that 46 per cent are 65 and under and 88 per cent in the ICU are 65 or under.

The province’s reproductive rate for COVID-19 is at 1.14, above the rate the province hoped for to move to the next step. Alberta’s COVID-19 test positivity rate, which was over six per cent Monday, has also risen over the last week, another concern for public health officials.

Alberta also reported over 100 new variant cases Monday and they account for 16 per cent of the province’s active COVID-19 cases.

“We cannot take the risk of easing any measures at this point,” Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“Now is not the time to abandon tried and true practices that have protected our communities and our health care system over the past year. COVID-19 is still very much with us.”

Alberta was set to move into Step 3 Monday. That would’ve loosened restrictions on adult team sports, casinos and bingo halls, private indoor social gatherings, movie theatres, zoos, museums and places of worship. Further easing of restrictions on youth sports was also originally intended to be included.

Alberta eased some restrictions and moved into Step 2 of its reopening on March 8. There were 257 hospitalizations and 457 total variant cases. As of Monday, there were 1,711 variant cases in the province.

“There are rising case numbers, rising variant cases, and rising hospitalizations in Alberta, but the premier failed to show his face, and failed to offer Albertans a plan to respond to this growing danger,” said Alberta NDP health critic David Shepherd.

“A third wave is rising, but the decisions the government makes this week will determine how large and how deadly that wave is. Now more than ever, Jason Kenney needs to come clean with Albertans about what he knows and what his intentions are.”



Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Just Posted

Katherine Swampy
Maskwacis chiefs are opposed to RAPID Response

Alberta Treaty 6 First Nations say they were not properly consulted

UCP Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr spoke to the Ponoka Chamber about the potential a new provincial government would provide to help support small business.
File photo
MLA Ron Orr: ‘Our constituents … want us to defend their livelihoods and freedoms’

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA stands with 15 other UCP members calling out retreat on restrictions

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Alberta is set to join three other provinces in exploring the feasibility of small modular reactors as a clean energy option. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Four provinces to sign memorandum of understanding to explore small nuclear reactors

Alberta government said in August that it would enter into the agreement to help diversify its energy sector

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a box containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots

These are not typical blood clots – they’re weird in two ways

File photo
City of Wetaskiwin awarded $5.1 million grant for additional RCMP officers

10 Additional RCMP officers to serve the City of Wetaskiwin as a result of the grant.

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Most Read