There have been 12,078 active cases in the province, which is similar to what Alberta saw in mid-January. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, presented her latest update on the pandemic at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“They say the last few miles of a race are the hardest and that’s what we’re up against right now,” Hinshaw said. “With cases declining and more vaccines being administered each day, we are quickly approaching a point where we can safely begin to relax measures. It is close and is getting closer every day.
As vaccine shipments continue to arrive, the province is looking for ways to reach key groups who may have difficulty accessing them, she said.
The province is also reviewing the current 16-week wait for second doses to see if that window can be shortened, depending on the incoming supply.
Hinshaw noted that the decline in new and active cases is a result of people’s adherence to health guidelines.
“It’s now been three weeks since our last sanitary measures were announced, and I know they have affected us all,” Hinshaw said. “Yet the numbers show that our collective efforts are making a difference. “
Alberta’s reproduction rate, or R-value, over the past week was 0.67, she said.
“We are now seeing promising declines in the number of hospitalizations, and while they have rebounded a bit in recent days, we have also started to see our positivity rate drop.
Active cases are down 52% from their peak at the start of the month, she said.
Over the May long weekend, more than 16,000 people were tested in Alberta and more than 86,000 were vaccinated, Hinshaw said.
Hospitals were treating 565 patients with the disease on Tuesday, including 158 in intensive care beds.
Nine new deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, with the ages of those ranging from 42 to 84.
Over 2.55 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.
Most students in Alberta, with the exception of those in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, where cases remain high, returned to in-person learning on Tuesday.
All K-12 students have been taking online classes since May 7, when the province ordered classrooms closed for two weeks as soaring case rates threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
At that time, Alberta had 23,623 active cases, the highest total since the start of the pandemic, and hospitals were treating 671 patients, including 150 in intensive care beds.
In a tweet from his official account Monday, Premier Jason Kenney said, with cases to come, the province will have “exciting news” to share this week on “the great Alberta summer that lies ahead.”