No decision on Phase 2 in Alberta before March: Hinshaw

EDMONTON — Alberta reported 273 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after completing 6,100 tests, bringing the positivity rate in the province to 4.5 per cent.

Sixteen new deaths were reported, but Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said many of the deaths were from December, and were just recently identified post-mortem as being from COVID-19.

There are 324 Albertans in hospital due to COVID-19,, 53 of them are in the ICU.

REOPENING TIMELINE

The R value in the province currently sits at 1.03.

“Anytime that our reproductive number is greater than one, it means our cases are rising,” Hinshaw said Monday.

“With that in mind, we will be taking the full three weeks to assess the data, and assess the best way forward. No decisions on moving to Step 2 will be made prior to March 1.”

Hinhaw said the province would make good on its promise to give businesses a week to prepare before the restrictions are lifted.

“Businesses should be planning for a reopening as early as the following week,” she said.

Under Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan, restrictions would ease on retail, banquet halls, community halls, conference centres, hotels and more restrictions would be eased on indoor fitness facilities and children’s sports.

There must be fewer than 450 people in hospital with COVID-19 before the province proceeds to Step 2.

 VACCINE ROLLOUT

As of Monday, 173,000 Albertans have received a COVID-19 vaccine and 69,000 have been fully immunized.

As part of the Phase 1B vaccine rollout, vaccines will next be offered to Albertans aged 75 and older starting Wednesday.

The country will receive a record 640,000 doses between Moderna and Pfizer deliveries this week. Just under 70,000 of those will head to Alberta. 

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