Premier Jason Kenney has enacted new COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic grows in the province.
Late last week, the premier had said that if Albertans did their part and followed the current restrictions, new measures wouldn’t be necessary.
“Last Thursday, I said that if we just stick to our guns for a few more weeks, we will head into what I truly believe will be the best summer in Alberta’s history.
“If we just get through the next few weeks, that remains true,” Kenney said Tuesday.
Alberta reverted back to Step 1 of its reopening plan Tuesday, with most measures in effect immediately, province-wide.
The measures lower capacity for retail stores and malls, close libraries and only allow one-on-one training at gyms, effective immediately.
As of Friday at noon, in-person dining at restaurants, except on patios will not be permitted.
Kenney acknowledged these decisions will meet resistance, even within his own United Conservative Party and caucus.
“But the government cannot ignore the science. We cannot dismiss the medical advice and we cannot ignore the numbers.”
Kenney said based on data and trends, the province could hit 2,000 daily cases by the end of April. He added that the province could see up to 1,000 patients in hospital with COVID-19 by the end of the month.
“Even at the height of the second wave back in December, we topped out at just under 1,900 cases a day. We are well on our way to exceeding that,” Kenney said.
“To be blunt, this wave is here. These trends will threaten the maximum capacity of our health care system by next month, right while we are reaching a critical mass of vaccination.”
The province added 931 cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and surpassed 2,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Alberta Health also identified 676 cases of the variant, the most since the province started reporting daily variant cases. There are now 4,604 active cases of the variant, nearly 42.6 per cent of the province’s overall active cases.
“These variants are the real enemy of public health and of lives. Tired though we may be, we cannot stop right now. We must defeat these variants,” Kenney said, adding officials expect variants to be the dominant strain of the virus by next week.
Alberta has had a 27 per cent jump in COVID-19 cases in the last week alone and now has 10,809 active cases, with 328 people in hospital, including 76 in intensive care.
The Central zone has 878 active cases of the virus.
Red Deer sits at 215 active cases of the virus.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 42 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 46 active and Clearwater County sits at nine active.
Lacombe has 43 active and Sylvan Lake has 26 active cases, while Olds sits at 29 active. Mountain View County sits at 32 active, Kneehill County has 18 active and Drumheller has 32 active.
Camrose County sits at 23 active cases and the County of Stettler has five.
Camrose is at 27 cases and Wetaskiwin has 63 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 125 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 125 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has five active.