Check against delivery.

Thank you, Minister, and good afternoon everyone.

Over the last 24 hours, we have identified 291 new cases of COVID-19.

We completed about 5,900 tests and our positivity rate is about 4.9%.

Looking to schools, there are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 236 schools, or about 10% of schools in the province.

These schools have a combined total of 890 cases since January 11th.

We have identified 35 additional cases of the variant since yesterday, bringing our total to 457.

For the past week, the RT value for the province was 1.01. This includes 1.16 for Edmonton, 1.01 for Calgary, and 0.94 for the rest of the province combined.

As the Premier noted, currently, there are 257 people in hospital, including 48 admitted to the ICU.

Sadly, I must announce that two new deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours.

While it is encouraging to see the rate of COVID-19 fatalities declining, this does not lessen the loss that many Albertans continue to feel from losing a loved one. My condolences go to anyone mourning the loss of someone they cared about.

Vaccine is our best path to preventing these severe outcomes,

And I am happy to say we have administered more than 235,000 doses of vaccine in our province, with more than 88,000 Albertans fully immunized.

Since the rollout of the vaccine to Alberta seniors age 75 and over February 24th, more than 123,000 eligible Albertans have been booked to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In just over five days, Alberta has provided a first dose to upwards of 31,000 eligible individuals in that age group.

We anticipate that another 8,000 were given today.

We thank Alberta seniors for their patience as we worked through some challenges during the first few days of clinics.

I also want to thank the family and friends who helped navigate the online booking system and safely transported their loved ones to appointments.

It’s wonderful to see so many people coming together to help protect our seniors.

I’m pleased to report that the long lines at some clinics have been minimized by new processes that have been put in place by Alberta Health Services.

We appreciate people arriving only five minutes before their appointment and waiting in their cars until just before their appointment time.

I understand everyone’s desire to be on-time – for many people, getting their first dose is an exciting day – but this is why we have an appointment system.

Please know that if you have an appointment, vaccine is reserved for you, and you will get your immunization.

While we roll out the vaccine, we need to continue to ensure the health and well-being of one another.

I ask all of you who have immunization appointments in the coming days to continue to follow physical distancing guidelines.

Also, if you are comfortable going into your appointment alone, please do not bring a support person or family member with you as there are staff who can help assist you and this can prevent over-crowding.

We also encourage everyone to wear clothing that will easily allow access to your upper arm for receiving the immunization, like a short-sleeved shirt.

For those who are eligible for the vaccine but haven’t yet booked, appointments are still available throughout the province.

There are three options to book your appointment for receiving the vaccine.

These are: using the AHS online booking tool, calling Health Link at 811, or contacting currently participating pharmacies in Edmonton, Calgary, or Red Deer.

A list of participating pharmacies is available through the Blue Cross website at A-B DOT BLUECROSS DOT C-A.

I also want to thank every Albertan who continues to make sacrifices and work to limit the spread of the virus in our province.

By making choices to reduce in-person interactions, you continue to made a world of difference.

You are helping limit the spread of COVID-19, limit pressure on our health care system, and ultimately these choices have put us in the position we are in today.

We have climbed down from the peak in December thanks to the ongoing hard work, vigilance and sacrifice of many.

I know the prospect of slightly fewer restrictions may signal to some that we’ve turned a corner and can now let our guard down in other areas as well, but this could not be further from the truth.

We need to be more careful than ever to not create opportunities for the virus and its variants to spread.

The progress that we have made is not guaranteed to last. It is up to all of us to continue lowering cases.

COVID-19 still poses a threat to our province and the choices we make every day still deeply matter.

As with the previous step, we will continue to monitor hospitalizations to ensure they’re continuing to trend downward.

And we’ll also keep a close eye on our leading indicators of growth rate, new case numbers, and positivity rate to watch for any concerning shifts that may require us to pause or reverse our current approach.

We are being both responsive and cautious, and we will continue to keep you updated in the days ahead.

Thank you and we will be happy to take questions.