Check against delivery.
Thank you, Premier, and good afternoon everyone.
Over the last 24 hours, we have identified 543 new cases of COVID-19, and completed about 11,600 tests.
Our positivity rate currently stands at about 4.5%.
There are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 291 schools, or about 12% of the schools in the province.
Currently these schools have a combined total of 607 cases.
There are 594 people in hospital, including 110 in the ICU.
Sadly, 14 new deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours.
While the number of COVID fatalities are trending downward, every death is a tragedy to those who love them.
My thoughts are with anyone mourning the loss of someone, whether from COVID-19 or any other cause.
We have also identified 12 more cases of variant COVID-19.
In Alberta, we have found 31 cases in total of the strain first identified in the UK, and 6 total cases of the strain first identified in South Africa.
Of these 37 cases, all but three are linked to travel. These three are all from the same household. One of whom is the case unrelated to travel which I referenced on Monday.
AHS is working hard to prevent spread and ensure that any close contacts of all cases are isolated and getting tested.
We still have no evidence of further spread in the community at this time.
These cases, however, are another reminder of why we must be cautious.
As we work to find the right balance of minimizing the impact of COVID on our health system while keeping in place only the public health measures we need, I know many Albertans are keen to return to the activities they love and have missed dearly over the last number of weeks.
This path forward shows us what we need to achieve together to be able to do that safely.
We’re taking this approach to ensure that we are not risking hospital capacity for Albertans when they need it most.
This is vital to ensuring that expert care and services are available for all Albertans when they need it, regardless of whether it’s from COVID, a car crash, or any other medical emergency.
We all have a role to play in the reduction of COVID-19 cases in the province.
Most important of all, is to continue to follow the public health orders in place, in detail and in spirit.
Our declining numbers through January prove how effective the measures can be when Albertans work together to protect each other and our health care system.
We can further slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves from the risk of variants, by continuing to limit as many in-person interactions as possible, in every facet of our day-to-day lives.
If each of us continue to find ways to replace these in-person interactions with other alternatives, together we will further reduce our case counts which help to relieve pressure on our health care system.
We will also help prevent any spread of the new variants of concern in our province.
As I’ve said before, none of us can do this alone.
It takes all Albertans working together to combat COVID-19.
We’ve shown before the collective power we have. Let’s harness that power once again to save lives and help us safely ease restrictions.
Thank you and I’ll turn it over to Minister Shandro for some remarks.