Alberta's health officials are asking people to take precautions ahead of the Easter weekend.

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says that COVID-19 transmission is rising and to consider what precautions are appropriate for individuals as friends and families plan their gatherings.  

“It's critical that anyone who’s feeling sick not attend a gathering. Consider the use of rapid tests and potentially having parts of gatherings outdoors,” Hinshaw advised. 

The province is also seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Currently, there are 1,053 in hospital (up 63 over last week), including 48 in intensive care. Between Apr. 5-11, there were 37 COVID-19 deaths reported, bringing the total to 4,141 since the start of the pandemic. 

Despite the increase, however, health minister Jason Copping says Alberta’s positivity rate has remained “stable.” The average positive rate for the last seven days was 26.6 per cent, compared to last week’s average of 26.3 per cent. 

Copping added he doesn’t expect to see the same pressure on the healthcare system as the previous Omicron wave in December.

The province reported completing near-normal surgery volumes. 

“We have high levels of vaccination and recent exposure to Omicron, as well as more access to new therapeutics,” he said. 

As of Tuesday (Apr. 12), all Albertans age 70 and older, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta age 65 and older, and all seniors in congregate care regardless of age are eligible for a fourth dose of vaccine. 

Eligible individuals can book their fourth dose provided at least five months have passed since their third.  

Alberta has received 10,000 doses of Novavax's Nuvaxovid, a two-dose protein subunit vaccine that does not use mRNA technology and is approved for those 18 and older.  

Due to limited supply, appointments for this vaccine can be booked by calling 811 only.