As Alberta reported a second straight day of more than 800 COVID-19 cases, Premier Jason Kenney said the province is in its third wave on Thursday.
The premier did not impose any new public health restrictions as the province added an additional 875 cases of the virus, including 322 new variant cases, but provided a stark warning.
“We are in a significant new wave of COVID-19. How bad that wave will be is up to all of us,” said a sombre Kenney, adding the province hasn’t closed the door on additional targeted measures.
“Nobody wants to hear this, me least of all. We all wish it were over. Many Albertans, understandably have just tuned out. Believing that the vaccines and the weather mean we can go back to our pre-Covid lives, how I wish that were true.”
The premier said Alberta doesn’t need any additional restrictions because the province already has strong measures in place, including no indoor gatherings, limited outdoor gatherings and dining only with your household, among others.
“We are asking people to respect those measures. What we are seeing is a growing number of people who are not complying with the restrictions that are already there,” he said.
“If they are not complying with the current restrictions, I think they’re not likely to comply with additional restrictions. The key thing is to get people’s attention.”
Kenney said Albertans shouldn’t gather with people outside their household for Easter, pointing to indoor gatherings and socializing as activities that are causing the most significant spread of the virus.
Alberta sits at 8,653 active COVID-19 cases with a case to hospitalization ratio of six per cent. The premier said there could be 500 people in hospital two weeks from now if growth continues at its current pace. Currently, there are 292 people in hospital, including 59 in intensive care.
Alberta has identified 4,337 cases variants of concern to date, with 2,820 active. Variant cases make up about 32.6 per cent of active cases in Alberta.
“In the race between vaccines and variants of COVID-19, the variants are winning,” Kenney said, adding that it is only a matter of time before variants become the dominant strain of the virus in the province.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said for every 1,000 cases, Alberta Health is preparing for about 40 hospitalizations down the road.
“To put in plainly, we are once again at a dangerous time,” she said.
Central zone sits at 741 active cases of COVID-19, with 31 people in hospital including four in intensive care.
Red Deer sits at 209 active cases of the virus.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 31 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 41 active and Clearwater County sits at eight active.
Lacombe has 34 active and Sylvan Lake has 30 active cases, while Olds sits at 21 active. Mountain View County sits at 25 active, Kneehill County has 12 active and Drumheller has 40 active.
Camrose County sits at 14 active cases and the County of Stettler has six.
Camrose is at eight active cases and Wetaskiwin has 55 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 98 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 118 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has six active.