Check against delivery.
Thank you, Premier, and good afternoon everyone.
Over the last 24 hours, we have identified 2,012 new cases of COVID-19, and completed about 15,000 tests.
Our positivity rate currently stands at 13.2%.
We have identified 1,900 additional cases of variants of concern in the last 24 hours.
Variants currently represent about 64% of our active cases.
For the previous week, the R value for the province was 1.12. This includes 0.99 in the Edmonton Zone, 1.16 in the Calgary Zone, and 1.18 for the rest of the province.
Numbers above 1 mean we continue to grow.
There are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 808 schools, which represents 33% of the schools in the province.
There are now 658 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19, including 154 in the ICU.
We have added the Town of Okotoks and Rocky View County to our hotspots list today. Both of them have met the threshold and so additional restrictions now apply in these locations.
Sadly, I must announce that 4 new deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours.
As always, it is critical to remember that these are not just numbers.
These are people. Every one of these deaths leaves a hole in their families, their circle of friends and those who cared about them.
My deepest sympathies are with anyone grieving the loss of someone they loved.
I know teachers and childcare workers have been patiently waiting their turn to roll up their sleeves and will be booking appointments first thing tomorrow morning.
That is a good thing and I thank you for doing so.
I also want to reiterate the importance of everyone who is eligible to choose protection for themselves and those around them.
I know it can be confusing to remember who is eligible, so I want to remind everyone:
If you are 50 or older, you can get the vaccine right now.
If you are First Nation or Métis person and 35 years of age and older, you can get the vaccine right now.
If you are a health care worker, fire fighter, caregiver, or anyone else listed on our website, you can also get the vaccine.
If you’re now eligible, or have been eligible for some time, and are still on the fence of whether or not to make this choice, I urge you to make the choice to do so today.
This choice is the best protection available.
By being vaccinated, you will reduce the risk of COVID-19 not only for yourself, but for those you love. You will help to reduce spread of the virus in our community.
The more of us who choose vaccine, the closer we get to replacing the currently needed protection of public health measures with the protection of vaccine.
Thank you and we’ll be happy to take questions.