There have been four COVID-19 exposures in Quesnel School District facilities. (File Photo)

There have been four COVID-19 exposures in Quesnel School District facilities. (File Photo)

Alberta identifies 387 new COVID-19 cases, nine new deaths

Central Zone has 1,289 active cases

Alberta’s active COVID-19 case count is down 52 per cent from the peak earlier this month and the province will provide an update on its reopening plan on Wednesday.

The announcement that Premier Jason Kenney, joined by Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer will provide an update on the province’s strategy to safely ease restrictions came just as Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided her update on Tuesday afternoon.

Hinshaw said 387 new COVID-19 cases have been identified.

Alberta now has 12,078 active cases of the virus in the province, to go along with 210,764 recovered cases. Nine new deaths, including a man in his 60s in Central zone, were reported Tuesday, in addition to 19 deaths reported over the May long weekend, bringing the province’s death toll to 2,192.

Hinshaw sounded an optimistic note saying there had now been 2.55 million doses of vaccine administered.

“We continue to see an uptick across the province and I hope that we can keep this momentum going.”

Hinshaw said the province’s latest health restrictions introduced three weeks ago are working as shown by a “steady decline” in new cases and dropping active case numbers. Hospitalizations are also going down and positive rates are trending in the right direction.

“After almost 15 months, I know this is a tough time for us as a province. They say the last few miles in a race are the hardest and that is what we are facing right now.

“With cases declining and more vaccines being delivered every day, we are rapidly approaching a point where we can safely begin to ease measures. It’s close and getting closer every day.”

The province is looking at its current 16-week period doses and whether it can be shortened. An update is expected soon, she said.

More information on mixing vaccines will also be released. The province is waiting on a United Kingdom study on the effects of using two different vaccines, she said.

The number of no-shows at vaccine appointments has hovered between one to three per cent but more than four per cent of those who booked appointments over the long weekend did not get their shot.

The increase was likely due to long weekend distractions, said Hinshaw, who urged those who know they are not going to make their appointments to cancel.

The City of Red Deer now has 409 active COVID-19 cases, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has recorded 5,060 recovered cases and a total of 39 deaths.

When looking at the province’s 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 93 active cases, Lacombe County has 69, the City of Lacombe has 69, Sylvan Lake has 67 Mountain View County has 36, Olds has 31, Clearwater County has 74 and Stettler County has 35.

The City of Camrose has 31 active cases, Camrose County has 15, Kneehill County has 25, Drumheller has four and Starland County has none.

On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 68 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 29 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County, has 33 active.

Overall the Central zone has 1,289 active cases, while the Calgary zone has 5,133, the Edmonton zone has 3,088, the North zone has 1,877 and the South zone has 678. The locations of 13 active cases are unknown.

Provincially, 565 people are currently hospitalized by COVID-19, with 158 of those individual in an intensive care unit.