The province is bringing in extra measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Jason Kenney, health minister Jason Copping, education minister Adriana Lagrange, chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw and CEO of Alberta Health Services, Dr. Verna Yiu, were in attendance at Tuesday's (Oct.5) COVID-19 update.
Kenney began the update by announcing that third doses of vaccine will be available to people aged 75 and older and all First Nations, Metis and Inuit people 65+ beginning Wednesday.
Kenney also addressed the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and pleaded with Albertans to follow the public health measures.
"We simply cannot afford a repeat scenario," he said, alluding to the spike in cases after Thanksgiving last year, which he said sparked the second wave of COVID-19 last winter.
Currently, all rules remain the same except for outdoor gatherings, which have been reduced from 200 to 20. Under the current measures, indoor gatherings are not permitted for unvaccinated people. For vaccinated people, only two households up to a maximum of 10 people are allowed to gather. The restrictions do not apply to children under 12.
The province will also be bringing in new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
According to minister Lagrange, rapid testing in schools will ramp up, and the province will increase public reporting in schools. A targeted program will provide rapid test kids for K-6 students in schools experiencing outbreaks.
The province also will begin public reporting of COVID-19 cases within schools, effective Wednesday. Similar to last year, the province will report, by name, which schools have at least two cases. Also effective Wednesday, school outbreaks will be publicly reported when 10 or more COVID-19 cases are recorded within a 14-day period that were infectious while at school.
In addition, contact tracing will begin in a "phased approach" around Alberta schools after Thanksgiving on October 12.
"We will be supporting school authorities as they determine close contacts of individuals who were infectious while attending school and they will notify families of those close contacts," said Lagrange. To help schools in the meantime, the province will be updating its guidelines online, she added.
The province will also be recommending school boards bring in mandatory vaccines for staff.
663 new cases of the virus were reported on Tuesday. Currently, 1,094 people are in the hospital, and 252 are in intensive care.
There are 19,456 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
There were 26 deaths reported on Tuesday, including a Sturgeon County resident. A total of 2,778 Albertans have now passed away from COVID-19.
The first number is the active case count on Monday for the area, and the second is the updated total as of Tuesday:
- Fort Saskatchewan: 175 cases - 152 cases
- Sherwood Park: 251 cases - 228 cases
- Strathcona County: 99 cases - 77 cases
- Sturgeon County: 142 cases - 102 cases
- Morinville: 112 cases - 112 cases
- Lamont County: 48 cases - 40 cases
The total per cent of people fully immunized with the vaccine as of Monday:
- Fort Saskatchewan: 62.8 per cent
- Sherwood Park: 73.3 per cent
- Strathcona County: 66.8 per cent
- Sturgeon County West (including Morinville): 59.2 per cent
- Sturgeon County East: 59.1 per cent
- Lamont County: 56 per cent
A total of 6.14-million doses of the vaccine have now been administered in the province; 84.5 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose, while 75.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.