COVID-19: Alberta reaches three-million vaccine milestone

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More than three million COVID-19 vaccinations have been given out in Alberta, the province announced Saturday.

As of June 4, more than 66 per cent of Albertans eligible to get the jab have had one shot — 3,013,555 doses in total — from Alberta Health Services, a pharmacy, or a doctor’s office. More than 13 per cent have had both doses.

Premier Jason Kenney said crossing the three-million-shot threshold brings Alberta closer to opening for summer.

“As more Albertans continue to step up and get vaccinated, we can all look forward to brighter days ahead,” he said in a news release.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the pace of rolling out vaccines in the province is picking up speed every day. Two million jabs had been given out by May 13.

“Every day tens of thousands of doses are getting into Albertans’ arms. This is a testament to the commitment each Albertan has to putting this pandemic behind us,” he said.

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Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also encouraged everyone who hasn’t yet had their first dose to sign up, and to get a second when they’re eligible: “Every person who receives their vaccine today will help us to prevent future transmission.”

People who got their first shot in March can now book their second vaccination online through AHS, by calling 811, or through a pharmacy.

Those first vaccinated in April can book a second shot starting June 14, while those who got their first jab in May can book their second starting June 28.

Cases below 300

Alberta’s new COVID-19 cases remained below 300 on Saturday: there were 293 more cases across the province.

Three more people have died from the disease.

Of the 6,843 tests completed, 4.2 per cent were positive.

However, testing found 353 more cases of variants of concern. The province recently restarted testing positive COVID-19 cases for variant strains. By Saturday, Alberta reported that there were 3,267 active cases involving variants.

Meantime, the number of people with serious cases of COVID-19 continued to decline. There were 373 in hospital, including 105 in intensive care.

Active cases also remained on a downward trend.

In total, there were 5,071 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta, including 1,346 in the Edmonton Zone and 2,067 in the Calgary Zone.

Thirteen health-care facilities have outbreaks in the Edmonton Zone, including the University of Alberta Hospital, according to the province’s outbreak list.

For long-term care, Chartwell Emerald Hills in Sherwood Park, St. Joseph’s in Edmonton, Extendicare in Leduc, and Jasper Place Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton had outbreaks.

Supportive living or home living sites with outbreaks in Edmonton include: Ambrose Place, GEF Ottewel Place Lodge, GEF Sakaw Terrace Seniors Housing, Kiwanis Place Lodge, March of Dimes Supportive Living, Riverbend Retirement Residence, Wild Rose Retirement Residence, and Ambrose Place.

In Sherwood Park, Chartwell Emerald Hills’ assisted living also has an outbreak.

lboothby@postmedia.com

@laurby

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