In Wednesday's update, Dr. Hinshaw provided an example of how quickly cases can spread in an indoor scenario with no masks where one case spread to 14 in just 11 days. The example was used not to shame or blame but to illustrate the contagiousness of the virus, particularly the variants of concern. We must remain vigilant in containing the spread with health restrictions. Most importantly, Dr. Hinshaw pointed out, "We are so close to getting through this. With a provincial vaccination program that will see every adult Albertan who wants to be vaccinated receive their first dose by the end of June and second doses by late summer, we are nearing a safe return to a more normal way of life. With widespread immunization by fall, the risk of gathering with our loved ones for a family dinner or holiday celebration will drop dramatically."
Dr. Hinshaw thanked Albertans for their patience while booking a vaccine appointment pointing out that everyone is working as fast as they can to get people immunized. At times there are circumstances beyond the control of AHS. She pointed out that "A shipment of Moderna vaccine that was set to arrive in Alberta earlier this week was grounded outside the province due to mechanical issues on an airplane. As a result, this has delayed the shipments to 43 pharmacies, which will get their vaccines a few days later than expected. We understand that these sorts of delays are frustrating, and we are delivering the vaccine as quickly as possible once it arrives in the province."
To date, 397,500 Albertans have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Starting tomorrow, the Phase 2A cohort will expand by three birth years to include, Albertans born in 1952, 1953, 1954 or earlier, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people born in 1967, 1968, 1969 or earlier will be able to book online or through 811. Pharmacies continue to book appointments for everyone born in 1956 and earlier. The pharmacies participating in Cochrane include Two Pharmacy, No Frills Pharmacy, and Shoppers Drug Mart.
The COVID-19 numbers for Wednesday, March 17 were as follows.
- There were 479 new cases reported with a positivity rate of 4.7%.
- There were 50 new cases of variants of concern reported. Accounting for 11% of all the new active cases.
- There are 262 people in the hospital with 44 in ICU.
- Four new deaths were reported bringing the total in the province to 1,952.
- There are 283 alerts or outbreaks in provincial schools accounting for about 12%. There has been a total of 1,199 cases since January 11.
- Cochrane saw a drop of 14 active cases for a total of 24. Rocky View County added six new cases for a total of 43.