“Today’s COVID-19 update is more good news for Albertans and for our health-care system. The Omicron wave continues to recede. Levels of the virus in wastewater are trending down across the province, including in Edmonton and Calgary, and are at or near the levels before Omicron in many centres.

“The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital continues to drop. The latest total of 589 is the lowest since early January, and 13 in intensive care is the lowest number since October 2020.

“Our hospitals and other services remain under strain, especially in Edmonton and Calgary, for the same reasons as in other provinces: a wave of patients in recent months, plus the impact of the past two years on the health workforce. The result is that EMS and emergency departments are struggling to keep up even though spending is at record levels and staff are being added across the system, including 800 more staff in emergency departments than before the pandemic.

“These pressures will ease as the Omicron BA.2 wave recedes and we get through the current wave of other respiratory viruses. And we’re continuing to add capacity. Alberta Health Services has now opened 26 of the 50 new ICU beds funded in Budget 2022 and nine new ambulances will be on the streets in Edmonton and Calgary by the end of this month.

“It’s been a tough spring for our health system in Alberta and across Canada. We know the pandemic is not over. We have to expect cases to increase again, most likely in the fall, and we’re preparing for that. We’ll continue to closely monitor the emergence of new variants and keep Albertans informed of the risks from the pandemic and how we’re responding to them.

“Once again, thank you to our health-care providers.”