COVID-19 Updates: Protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant.
Today, I am pleased to report 5,710 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19, leaving 926 active cases in the province.
Currently, 59 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with six of these in ICUs.
In the last 24 hours, out of 4,017 new test results there were 33 new cases.
Sadly, I must report that there are four new deaths today, a male in his 70s, a female and a male in their 80s and a female in her 90s. All of them resided in Calgary continuing care facilities.
I have said before and will say again, no Albertan is expendable.
Every death from this virus is a loss of someone who was loved and cherished by friends and family. My heart and condolences go to out to all Albertans grieving the loss of a loved one at this time.
We do know that older individuals are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 is 82 years, which is why long-term care and other continuing care facilities remain a priority for both me and Alberta Health Services.
We will continue to monitor outbreaks at these facilities and take additional measures as necessary to protect the health of residents and staff.
The good news is that we continue to see a downward trend across the province in active cases.
While it is too early to see the full impact of the relaunch, so far our case numbers have held steady.
A large part of this is thanks to you and the sacrifices you have made, and continue to make.
I know many of the public health measures we’ve put in place have meant hardship for many.
We did not make these decisions lightly. These decisions were made to save lives, and thanks to you, we are saving lives.
I know that many Albertans – especially those in Calgary and Brooks – continue to be concerned about the more gradual reopening compared to the rest of the province.
I understand residents and businesses are eager to see more businesses resume operations….and the wait is taking a toll.
I want to thank those in Calgary and across the province for doing their work to protect others by following public health measures, and that is a large part of why these numbers continue to decline.
Protecting Albertans’ health and well-being is at the forefront of every difficult decision that is made.
We do not want to jeopardize all that Albertans have risked and sacrificed by re-opening prematurely.
There are many businesses are already open across the province including in Calgary and Brooks.
Reopening gradually allows us to monitor any increase in spread from open retail, daycares and other activities in Calgary and Brooks where the baseline rate was higher last week.
This sequencing is based on a thorough public health risk-analysis that considers both the risks to the public of spread of COVID and economic impact.
At this point, we are not seeing a concerning increase in numbers in Calgary or Brooks, and overall, our cases are stable.
The major outbreaks at the plants in both High River and Brooks have made a sizeable contribution to the overall case numbers in both of those cities.
At Cargill, there are now only five active cases, with 943 recovered.
At the JBS plant, we see similar progress, with only 10 active cases and 640 workers recovered.
All of these signs are encouraging.
But, the next few days remain critical.
Should we continue to see these encouraging results, we are hopeful that we will be able to move forward with a gradual re-opening in Calgary and Brooks.
However, progress on our relaunch plan continues to depend on our collective ability to keep infection rates low as we begin to relax public health measures.
I continue to remind Albertans of the importance of responsible action.
Albertans have pulled together to support one another through this pandemic, and that support remains as essential as ever.
We are in this together, and we will get through this together.
Thank you. I’d be happy to take questions.