COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
Check against delivery.
Thank you, Chris, and good afternoon everyone.
Over the last 24 hours, we identified 442 new cases of COVID-19, and completed about 7,700 tests.
Our positivity rate was about 6%.
There are currently active alerts or outbreaks in 242 schools.
Of these, two schools had 10 or more COVID cases who attended in the last 14 days while infectious.
There are currently 836 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including 183 in the ICU.
Sadly, over the last 24 hours, 12 new deaths have been reported to Alberta Health.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of these individuals.
Their deaths are a painful reminder of the serious outcomes this virus can cause for people of many different ages, backgrounds and health conditions.
We are incredibly fortunate to have an effective and widely available tool to prevent the vast majority of these serious outcomes. The benefit of vaccines is clear in the numbers that we post online every day.
For example, in the last three months, people over 80 years old who weren’t vaccinated were 12 times more likely to die from COVID than those who were fully vaccinated.
The protection further improves when we look at younger groups – for example unvaccinated 70 to 79 year-olds were 52 times more likely to die from COVID in the last three months than those who were fully vaccinated.
If you haven’t already done so, please get fully vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.
The science is clear – vaccines work. They are safe and save lives.
If you have any questions or concerns about COVID vaccines, I encourage you to speak to your family doctor or a trusted other primary care provider.
They know your personal medical history and can provide trusted advice when it comes to vaccines.
If you don’t have a family doctor, you can visit albertafindadoctor.ca to find a physician in your community who is accepting new patients.
For those who are fully vaccinated who want to support and encourage those who are not to look at reliable evidence while making their decision, I ask you to remember that everyone has different reasons for not having accessed vaccine yet.
It’s also important to remember that good decision-making is hard to do when we are in a strong emotional state like anger or fear.
So whether we are fully vaccinated or not, the more we can listen respectfully to each other without anger, the more possible it is to open space for ongoing dialogue and understanding each other’s perspectives.
As this dialogue happens in the province, it is encouraging to see that since launching the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program in mid-September, we have seen a significant increase in vaccinations. In fact, more than 505,000 first and second doses have been administered over the last six weeks.
As of yesterday, full vaccination is required to access any business, venue or service participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program.
This means you’ll need to have received your second dose at least 14 days before you enter the facility, and you need to present valid proof of vaccination at the time of service.
There was a transition period when one dose was accepted. This was done to give Albertans the opportunity to get both doses before requirements changed.
Those who are not fully vaccinated can still choose to provide a privately paid negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours or valid proof of a medical exemption.
If you only have one dose, I urge you to get your second one as soon as possible. The data shows that two doses are much more effective at protecting you from COVID-19 and in particular, from the Delta variant.
In Alberta, we have seen that receiving one dose of vaccine offers 57% protection against the Delta variant that is currently circulating. With two doses the protection jumps to 89%.
By getting a second dose, you not only gain access to the businesses and services participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, you also increase your protection against the virus. Getting a second dose helps protect you, your loved ones and your community.
Finally, I want to remind Albertans that tomorrow evening I will be hosting a telephone town hall to answer questions about vaccines, fertility and maternal health.
I’ll be joined by Dr. Eliana Castillo, Clinical Associate Professor, and Dr. Verena Kuret, head of Maternal Fetal Medicine, both from the University of Calgary’s department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr. Castillo is a leader on vaccination in pregnancy and her medical and academic practice focuses on reproductive infectious diseases.
Dr. Kuret is a maternal fetal medicine specialist and her research focus is on reproductive infectious diseases and its impact on maternal and fetal health. Her clinical practice includes inpatient and outpatient management of high-risk pregnancies.
The town hall will take place from 6:15 to 7:45 pm tomorrow, and is open to anyone interested in the topic. If you’d like to attend, simply register online at alberta.ca/townhall by noon tomorrow and you will be sent the dial-in details.
I look forward to answering your questions on this important topic.
Thank you and I’m happy to answer questions today.