Check against delivery.

Thank you, Minister, and good afternoon everyone.

During the long weekend, we identified 1,085 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, 1,039 on Saturday, 628 on Sunday and another 606 cases on Monday.

Our positivity rate ranged from 7.9 to 9.2% over the weekend and yesterday was about 8.3%.

There are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 464 schools. Of these, 13 schools are on outbreak.

Over the last few days, we have seen an encouraging decline in the total number of active cases in Alberta.

Our positivity rate is falling, and it has been below 10% since Oct. 3.  

These are positive, early signs that the growing number of vaccinated Albertans and our public health measures are having an impact.

But I must caution that they are very early signs.

We are not yet through this fourth wave and the effects that it continues to have on our health-care system.

As the Premier noted, there are currently 1,053 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 242 in ICU.

While it’s good news that COVID hospitalizations and ICU admissions appear to have plateaued, our numbers are still extremely high.

We remain significantly higher than any other peaks during the course of the pandemic.

In fact, we still have 148 more COVID patients in hospital than at the very peak of the second wave.

Similarly, there are 59% more patients in ICU today than at the worst point in the third wave.

Our case numbers, positivity rate and many other indicators are as high today as they were in mid-May, during the third wave.

We have learned a lot about this virus, and we have seen that things can change for the worse in a hurry if we let up too soon.

We are seeing some declines but the virus is still spreading in our communities.

Elective surgeries and procedures are still being cancelled or postponed.

And, sadly, people continue to die due to COVID-19.

Since Friday, we have had an average of 8 new deaths per day reported to Alberta Health with a total of 33 over the weekend. This includes the death of a 14-year-old who had complex pre-existing medical conditions that played a significant role in their death.

I extend my deepest condolences to the loved ones of all these individuals, and to any Albertan who is mourning the loss of someone they cared about.  If you know someone who is grieving, I ask that you reach out to let them know they are not alone.

Losses due to COVID, and the protection of our health system are why we still need to do everything we can to limit the spread of this virus in our province.

That includes following the public health measures in place, regardless of vaccination status or where we live. 

It also includes getting fully vaccinated and encouraging others around us to do the same.

If you have a friend or family member

  • who is an Albertan 75 years of age or older,
  • who is a First Nations, Metis or Inuit individual aged 65 or over,
  • who is a resident of a seniors’ congregate care facility,
  • or anyone 12 years or older with an eligible immune-compromising condition,

please encourage them to book their third dose of vaccine today.

If they need assistance making or getting to the appointment, please help them out.

If you know someone who is hesitant to the get the shot, share your own experience and reasons for being vaccinated and encourage them to speak to a health-care professional.

Each of these individual actions may seem small in the grand scheme of a global pandemic, but I assure you they are not.

Added together, they are the difference between cases rising or falling. They are the difference between having to cancel surgeries or getting people the procedures that they need.

They are the difference between saving lives or losing more Albertans to this virus.

Thank you for all that you are doing every day to protect your communities. I will now ask Dr. Yiu to provide an update on the health system.