Dr. Hinshaw spoke to how the virus does not care what part of the province it's in just how fast it can spread. She pointed out that the Lethbridge area is now seeing a rapid increase in cases and she is hearing reports that it is from pandemic fatigue and people letting their guard down with restrictions. The rapid spread is due to family gatherings and visitation between households, or faith gatherings where masking and social distancing are not happening. In a course of three weeks, Lethbridge went from 196 active cases to 469.
Once again, Dr. Hinshaw requests Albertan's not to fear the virus but to respect it and that the next few months are critical. Indoor social gatherings continue to be the primary spread of COVID-19 in its original form and variants of concern. Alberta's Top doctor is imploring Albertans to continue to be vigilant until as many people as possible are vaccinated and stresses that the next few months will be critical.
On the vaccine front, more than 418,000 Albertans have now received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Friday, March 19 the final years of Phase 2A will be eligible to book their appointments.
The province announced Thursday, that more pharmacies are signing on to help with the rollout.
The numbers for Thursday, March 18 were as follows.
- There were 505 new cases reported in the past 24 hours with a positivity rate of 4.8%.
- There were 91 new cases of a variant of concern reported.
- There are 297 schools in the province with active alerts or outbreaks.
- There are 264 people in the hospital with 43 in ICU.
- One more death was reported today.
- Cochrane dropped two active cases for a total of 22. Rocky View County added two cases for a total of 45.