Premier Kenney started Tuesday's COVID-19 update by stating how pleased he is with the response to the expanded parameters for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He said, "I am encouraged to see much more activity at the walk-in sites and a higher number of appointment bookings. I myself booked my AstraZeneca appointment, online at 8 a.m. this morning and I have to say, I am impressed at how easy it was."
The premier went on to tout the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine saying that it works and the risks are minuscule in comparison to contracting the virus and its effects. Dr. Hinshaw reported that she and Health Minister Shandro had both received their first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine today.
The race between variants and the vaccine rages on and as the Premier says timing is critical,
"We now have a quarter of adult Albertans vaccinated we figured about 10% of the population has natural protection from prior infection and so by 2 to 3 weeks from now we are going to see a very significant number of Albertans with some protection. [...] We hopefully will see a shrinking percentage of people getting sick and ending up in hospital. But it is still very critical, all we need to do is look at what is happening in Ontario, which is real and if we don't all be careful that could potentially happen in Alberta. So, I implore people to please follow the public health measures so we don't have to bring in additional restrictions and so that we can let the vaccines get the march on the variants."
Dr. Hinshaw reported the COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday, April 20.
- There were 1,345 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours.
- The positivity rate is 10.4%.
- There were 816 variants of concern identified accounting for 57% of the active cases. The B.1.1.7 variant is now the dominant strain in the province.
- There are 476 people in the hospital with 105 in ICU.
- Five more deaths were reported with the total in Alberta at 2,048.
- To date, 1,196,428 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. This is 26,762 doses per 100,000 population. There are now 239,277 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.
- There are active alerts or outbreaks in 567 schools or 23 percent of schools in the province.
- Cochrane dropped 10 cases for a total of 142 and Rocky View County dropped 12 cases for a total of 198 active cases.
Dr. Hinshaw gave an example of the power of vaccines, "We only need to look to our long-term care homes to see the impact of getting vaccinated. Thanks to the high vaccine uptake in these locations, we have seen a dramatic decline in severe outcomes. Comparing where we were on December 30th to April 18th, the number of active cases in long-term care facilities has decreased from 776 on Dec. 30 to just 37 on the 18th. Hospitalizations have decreased by about 93% and the number of deaths has been reduced by 94%."