COVID-19: Hospitalizations drop below 500, meet key stage two re-opening target

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Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have dropped below 500 in Alberta, one of the metrics for eventually moving the province to stage two of lifting public health restrictions.

The province also reported 406 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and eight more deaths. There are currently 478 people in hospital including 140 in ICU.

That’s down from yesterday’s count of 517 people in hospital including 147 in ICU.

Saturday’s numbers now put Alberta below the threshold for stage two of the province’s re-opening plan.  That threshold is having 60 per cent of the eligible population with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and hospitalization numbers below 500 and declining.

On Friday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said stage two — which includes allowing outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people and facilities like casinos, movie theatres and arenas to open at one-third fire code capacity — could begin June 10, provided hospitalization are less than 500 and declining.

In addition, stage two will see the mandatory work-from-home order lifted, allow indoor dining in restaurants, and let up to 150 people gather outside for public events like concerts and festivals. Distancing and masking requirements will stay.

The most recent data shows that 61.5 per cent of Albertans 12 or older have at least one dose of a vaccine.

“Fewer people in hospital shows Albertans are responding to our call for vaccinations, and is yet another welcome sign that we are on the right track,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a statement Saturday. “Health officials will continue to monitor this trend closely in the weeks ahead as we move towards reopening the province.”

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