Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided the update for Monday, February 22.
- In the past 24 hours 273 new cases were reported with over 6,100 tests performed for a positivity rate of 4.5%
- Eleven variants, all of the UK strain, were reported in the past 24 hours.
- Variant cases account for approximately 3.5% of the new cases in February.
- There are 324 people in the hospital with 53 of those in ICU.
- To date, 173,000 people have been immunized with over 69,000 Albertans having been fully immunized with two doses.
- Sadly, there were 16 deaths reported, with some dating back to December.
- There are currently active alerts in 235 schools or approximately 10% of schools in the province.
Dr. Hinshaw reported that while some numbers have been stabilizing or plateauing the R-value has been rising slightly to 1.03 last week. For that reason, the province will take the full three weeks to decide on the next steps to take the time to fully realize how the numbers are trending.
"I know that many people have questions about when Alberta will move to Step 2 of easing restrictions. We are below the threshold of Step 2 hospitalizations, but we have seen growing cases in recent days. With that in mind, we will be taking the full 3 weeks to assess the data and assess the best way forward. No decisions on moving to Step 2 will be made before March 1st at the earliest. We are being cautious as it is too early to say if this recent increase is significant or but a temporary pause in the strong downward trend we have seen over the past several months. This extra time will allow us to evaluate our current situation."
Today marked the 174th time that Dr. Hinshaw has addressed the province and she took the time today to recognize the accomplishments of the province achieving a downward trend with certain numbers. However, we must remain vigilant to keep the numbers under control.
"These trends are the result of our willingness to put our communities’ needs first and care for each other every day. The progress that we have made is not guaranteed to last unless our actions stay consistent.COVID-19 still poses a threat to our province and our choices still deeply matter. Our cases are starting to plateau instead of continuing to drop. We are seeing steady numbers of new variant cases. Our vaccination campaign needs several more months to reach the majority of our population. All this means we must be extra-cautious. If given the chance, this virus will spread widely and we risk losing the gains that we have made together."