Eleven new deaths linked to COVID-19 — none in Central Zone — were reported by the provincial government Monday.
Provincially, 1,447 people — 15 in Red Deer — have died due to the virus. Two were reported on Sunday.
An additional 474 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours were also reported by the Government of Alberta on Monday afternoon. There are now 739 people in hospital, including 120 in ICU. There are 11,923 active cases and 103,941 people have recovered.
Alberta Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there have been 181 cases in 133 schools since classes resumed a week ago. Those are connected to community transmission, not in-school transmission.
“It is important to distinguish between the two,” she said.
An analysis of cases in school-age children from September to December last year showed only six per cent were infected at school.
To put the the scale of the pandemic in perspective, Hinshaw pointed out the average annual death toll from influenza over the last 10 years has been 58 people in Alberta.
“Having lost an additional 11 people to COVID-19, which amounts to almost 20 per cent of a full year of influenza data, (it) should not be taken lightly.”
While there has been progress in bringing infection numbers down they are still far higher than three months ago, she added.
On Oct. 18, the active case count was just over 3,000 and 120 people were in hospital. On Monday, the case count was over 12,000 and six times more people were in hospital than three months ago.
“All of this means we are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet.”
Red Deer now has 184 active COVID-19 cases, according to geospatial mapping on the government’s website.
Clearwater County has 87 active cases, Red Deer County has 45, Sylvan Lake has 34, Lacombe County has 23, the City of Lacombe has 23, Olds has 24, Mountain View County has 27 and Stettler County has six. Collectively, Ponoka County, Wetaskiwin County and the City of Wetaskiwin have 491 active cases.
The first dose of the vaccine had been provided to all residents and staff in the province’s 357 long-term and supportive living facilities. Sixty-six per cent of Alberta deaths have been in these facilities.
The province wants to get other seniors vaccinated as soon as possible but “unfortunately, we will be receiving fewer doses than we hoped for over the next few weeks.”
Premier Jason Kenney expressed his disappointment with the supply issues on Monday morning, saying the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis people and seniors over 75 has been temporarily put on hold.
Hinshaw was asked about the prospect of health restrictions being eased for other businesses, such as restaurants and fitness facilities. As of Monday, hair, aesthetic and tatoo businesses were allowed to reopen, by appointment only.
Alberta’s limited data shows that the number of cases attributed to restaurant and fitness facilities are higher than in the businesses for which restrictions were recently eased, she said.
The province continues to work with the business community to determine when it is safe to open other businesses, she added.
Hinshaw said at the moment it appears the province has enough vaccine to offer the second dose to all who have booked it but the situation is being closely monitored. So far, there has been no need to push the second dose past the 42 days
announced last week.