COVID-19 Weekly Regional Update
On March 8 the Province announced it would be accepting proposals from companies and organizations interested in vaccine development and manufacturing as a way to explore opportunities to address vaccine shortages and support the pandemic.
Online applications will be open until midnight on March 21. Doug Switzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, stated, “The economic recovery of Alberta, Canada and the world depends on achieving mass vaccination against COVID-19. Our government is exploring potential opportunities in the development and manufacturing of vaccines right here at home. Albertans are hard-working innovators and problem solvers, and we are ready to see how they propose to continue the fight against COVID-19.”
As of March 7, a total of 297,692 doses of the COVID-19 have been administered in Alberta. Beginning March 10, Albertans born in 1957 or First Nation, Metis or Inuit individuals born in 1972 can book an appointment for AstraZeneca if they have no severe chronic illness.
Albertans born between 1958 and 1971 and First Nation, Métis or Inuit individuals born between 1973 and 1986 will be eligible to book by year of birth, one year at a time, over the following days dependent on AstraZeneca vaccine supply.
According to COVID-19 cases there were 747 cases, 108 active cases, 630 recovered cases and 9 deaths in Smoky Lake County. In Two Hills County there were 112 cases, 2 active cases, 108 recovered cases, and 2 deaths. In Vegreville/Minburn County there were 149 cases, 2 active cases, 143 recovered cases, and 4 deaths. In Tofield, (Beaver County West) there were 96 cases, 2 active cases, 93 recovered cases and 1 death. In Viking, (Beaver County East) there were 90 cases, 0 active cases, 89 recovered cases, and 1 death.
Provincially there were 278 new cases identified. There were 254 people in hospital including 36 in intensive care. There were 4,633 active cases and 129,566 recovered cases. Six deaths were reported.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced updated health measures for retail, hotels and community halls, performance groups, and youth sports as well as performance and recreation.
Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels
- These facilities can now open for all activities permitted under Step 1 and Step 2.
- This includes hosting virtual meetings/conferences/events, permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 individuals, and funeral services up to a maximum of 20 individuals.
- Wedding receptions, funeral receptions or trade shows are not permitted.
- All retail services and shopping malls must limit customer capacity to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy, not including staff. This is an increase from 15 per cent.
- This includes individual stores and common areas.
- Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged.
- Individuals or groups can now rehearse and perform in preparation for filming or live streaming a performance, provided they adhere to public health guidance.
- For adult performers and performance groups (over the age of 18), the following activities are permitted:
- Individual performers or performance groups (up to a maximum of 10 individuals) can access facilities for rehearsals or filming/virtual broadcasting.
- Larger indoor film and other performances will be allowed provided there is no audience and subject to an approved plan that follows strict new guidance, including regular lab-based PCR testing.
- No in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
- Masks are required and three-metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
- For children and youth, performance activities are permitted provided they follow the same requirements set out for youth sport, performance and recreation activities in Step 1:
- Up to a maximum of 10 individuals with three-metre distancing between all participants.
- No spectators or in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
- Masks are mandatory at all times.
- Includes lessons and practices.
- Includes youth development activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H.
- Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre, and playing instruments.
Youth sports and recreation
- There is no change to the restrictions around youth sport and recreation.
- The Step 1 restrictions around youth sports and recreation have been expanded to include members of college and university athletic programs:
- Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed.
- Games are not allowed.
- Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
- Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all time.
- Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activities.
Any decisions on Step 3 will be made on March 22, at the earliest, based on hospitalizations and the current spread of COVID-19. Metrics based on cases and growth, including variant cases, are being monitored and will also be used to guide any decisions around the need to pause further steps or potentially increase restrictions.