By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – As Canada is experiencing the third wave of COVID-19, Alberta is particularly affected as the daily COVID-19 numbers have now reached the heights of the second wave.
Alberta reported 1,437 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday April 25, as well as three additional deaths.
There are currently over 20,000 people in Alberta infected with Covid – 8300 are in the Calgary zone, 5700 are in the Edmonton zone, 2800 are in the North zone and 2100 are in the Central zone. On a per capita basis, Fort McMurray is currently the hardest hit.
During the re-opening, the province used hospitalizations under 300 as the main indication for the easing of restrictions. However, there are now 594 Albertans in the hospital for COVID-19 while 140 are in intensive care.
Despite these numbers, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, said that there were no immediate plans to implement additional public health measures. She also said that the decision to implement restrictions would be up to elected MLAs.
“Those decisions are made by elected officials who are appropriately the ones to make those decisions,” Hinshaw said. “The need for any additional measures is being discussed, looking at the data and multiple factors that weigh into that decision.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the decision to add restrictions is Dr. Hinshaw’s.
“We don’t have any recommendations right now from Dr. Hinshaw, but we will continue to make sure she has all the resources available to her to make the right recommendations to (the) emergency management cabinet committee, and we will continue to hear those recommendations from her when she comes forward with concerns she might have about community spread.”
However, it is not all bad news as Canada has reached a new single-day record for vaccinations with 44,55 shots being administered Thursday April 22.
In Alberta, there have been 1.32 million vaccinations given, with 1.06 million Albertans having received at least one dose.
The province also introduced new legislation — which was brought forth by NDP leader Rachel Notley — that allows Albertans to get paid leave in order to get immunized.
The government is allowing up to three hours of paid leave for Albertans to get their vaccine.
Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping said, “This is directed at those groups of workers who may be working multiple jobs, (have a) lower income, (or) can’t afford to lose time.
“They don’t, quite frankly, have the time to do this and we want to make sure that we reduce these barriers to them and get them vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
As for the Indigenous population in Canada, Dr. Tom Wong, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health at Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), appeared on the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNMHA) webinar on April 21, to provide an update on the Indigenous vaccine roll-out in Canada.
“ISC continues to work with the public health agency of Canada, the Canadian armed forces, the provinces and the territories to facilitate vaccine roll-out in Indigenous communities,” said Dr. Wong.
“Right now we are in stage 2 of the roll-out. All Indigenous adults who have not been offered the vaccine in stage 1 need to be prioritized.”
Dr. Wong said that as of April the 20th, 340, 860 vaccine doses have been administered in 654 First Nations, Inuit, and territorial communities.
The First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) Weekly Town Hall series features speakers from different organizations who provide credible and reliable information, resources, and updates about what their organizations are doing to combat COVID-19. It is available on ihtoday.ca as a webinar Wednesdays at 11 am MST as well as on Facebook at Alberta Native News. It is televised on APTN on Saturdays at 3 pm MST.