The province is taking extra steps to ease pressure on hospitals.
 
Premier Jason Kenney, along with health minister Jason Copping, Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu and public service commissioner Tim Grant provided Thursday’s (Sept.30) COVID-19 update and the steps the province was taking to reduce the pressure on hospitals and slow the spread of the virus. 
 
Due to personal reasons, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, was not in attendance. 
 
Alberta is finalizing a deal to bring in up to 10 ICU-trained staff from the Canadian Armed Forces, which will help staff additional hospital beds, 20 Red Cross staff are being sent to Red Deer, and Newfoundland and Labrador will be sending healthcare workers likely to hospitals in Fort McMurray, according to Premier Kenney. 
 
“We will do whatever it takes to protect Albertans and the healthcare system. The steps taken today will help increase our capacity and keep delivering care provincewide, and every bit helps. Alberta has been there for other provinces throughout COVID-19, and we are grateful for any assistance now,” he said. 

The province will be receiving an extra supply of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a non-replicating viral vector type vaccine which, according to Kenney, has been requested by people who are hesitant to taking mRNA vaccines such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.  
 
The province is also mandating vaccines for Alberta public service employees. According to Grant, vaccinations or regular COVID-19 testing will be required for approximately 25,000 public service employees. Employees will have until Nov.30 to submit their proof of vaccination.   
 
1,706 new cases of the virus were reported in the province in the last day; 1,083 people are in the hospital, and 263 are in intensive care. There are currently 20,255 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.  
 
There were 20 deaths reported on Thursday, including a resident from Sherwood Park. A total of 2,717 Albertans have now passed away from COVID-19. 
   
Local numbers  
  
The first number is the active case count on Wednesday for the area, and the second is the updated total as of Thursday:   
- Fort Saskatchewan: 166 cases – 169 cases  
- Sherwood Park: 231 cases - 246 cases
- Strathcona County: 102 cases - 104 cases
- Sturgeon County: 135 cases - 136 cases  
- Morinville: 120 cases - 125 cases  
- Lamont County: 40 cases - 49 cases   
  
Vaccinations  
   
The total per cent of people fully immunized with the vaccine as of Thursday:  
   
- Fort Saskatchewan: 62.1 per cent  
- Sherwood Park: 72.8 per cent  
- Strathcona County: 66.2 per cent  
- Sturgeon County West (including Morinville): 58.7 per cent  
- Sturgeon County East: 58.7 per cent  
- Lamont County: 55.5 per cent  
   
A total of 6.06-million doses of the vaccine have now been administered in the province; 83.6 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose, while 74.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.