In the COVID-19 update for Friday, January 29, Premier Kenney announced the province's step strategy for restriction easement. The benchmark for easing restrictions will be based primarily on hospitalization rates along with other leading indicators such as new cases and positivity rate. 

Premier Kenney said, “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve emphasized the importance of maintaining our health-care capacity. These hospitalization benchmarks will help us chart a path forward to carefully restart businesses and activities that people depend on. We’re laying out a series of steps to ease selected measures starting with those that have the lowest risk, all subject to the need to protect our health system.”

The hospitalization benchmarks are:

  • Step 1 – 600 and declining
  • Step 2 – 450 and declining
  • Step 3 – 300 and declining
  • Step 4 – 150 and declining

As of today, Alberta is in early steps and since hospitalizations (as of Friday) are at 594, Step One will be implemented starting Monday, February 8th. 

Step One: Hospitalization Benchmark 600 

Potential of easing of restrictions relating to:

  • Indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance (school-related only)
  • Indoor personal fitness, one-on-one and by appointment only
  • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs

For more information on the step strategy click here.

All officials present re-iterated the importance of taking things slowly and carefully and that the province is not out of the woods yet. There is a particular concern with the variants of the virus in the province. The COVID-19 numbers were as follows:

  • There were 543 new cases reported in the past 24 hours with over 11,600 tests performed for a positivity rate of 4.5%.
  • There are 594 people in the hospital with 110 in ICU.
  • Another 14 deaths were reported.
  • There are 291 active alerts in provincial schools which accounts for 12% of schools. There are a total of 607 cases in provincial schools.
  • There have been 12 more cases of variant COVID-19 identified for a total of 37. All but three have been linked to travel. 
  • Cochrane has dropped to 17 active cases.
  • Rocky View County has dropped to 55 active cases. 

Health Minister Shandro was tasked with reporting that there are more delays with vaccine doses arriving in the province as Moderna is now cutting back shipment amounts next week.