Eighty per cent of eligible Albertans are now fully vaccinated.
While this province still lags behind the national average (about 84 per cent of Canadians age 12 or older are double vaccinated) Alberta is narrowing the gap and passed a significant threshold on Monday.
The Alberta government reports more than 3.2 million people have received both doses of vaccine against COVID-19.
However, Red Deer’s innoculation rate continues to trail the provincial average. Mapping on the provincial government’s website featuring vaccination rates, divides Red Deer into three groups: north, east and southwest. In Red Deer north, 60.1 per cent of those eligible are double vaxxed, in Red Deer east that number is 65.7 per cent and in Red Deer south west 60.9 per cent have received both doses.
“More and more Albertans are choosing to be protected against COVID-19 because of the undeniable fact that vaccines work and they save lives,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “It’s great news that we’ve reached this milestone” that help ease pressure on the health-care system.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, stressed vaccines are highly effective at protecting against severe illness. While hospitalizations continue to decline, “this trend could reverse quickly if we are not careful,” she said.
“We need as many people as possible to choose vaccine protection to help keep numbers moving in the right direction.”
Health Minister Jason Copping urged those with concerns to speak to a health-care professional to make an informed decision.
On Monday, Alberta added 1,210 new active COVID-19 cases: 533 on Friday, 335 on Saturday and 342 on Sunday. That brings the provincial active cases to 7,580. Of the active cases, 1,457 are in the Central zone.
In the City of Red Deer there are 293 active cases. This is 47 fewer cases than the 340 reported in the previous update, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website.
Eighteen new deaths were also reported in Alberta, bringing the province’s death toll to 3,111. To date, Central zone has had 362 deaths including four deaths over the weekend.
Provincially, there are 689 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 157 in intensive care units. In Alberta Health Services’ Central zone, there are 142 hospitalizations, including 16 in ICU. Of the 532 non-ICU patients provincewide, 72.7 per cent are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Of the 157 in ICU, 88.5 per cent are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Red Deer County has 93 active cases of the virus, Clearwater County has 83, Lacombe County has 81, the City of Lacombe has 84, Sylvan Lake has 27, Stettler County has 39, Mountain View County has 52 and Olds has 24. Kneehill County has 44 active cases and Drumheller has 31.
Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 182 active cases. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 54 and Rimbey (West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County) has 32.
So far, 87 per cent of eligible Albertans (age 12 and older) have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Across the Central Zone, 89.9 per cent of Alberta Health Services staff (including full and part-time staff) are fully vaccinated. This doesn’t include casual staff as there are many casual workers who have not had a shift since the vaccine mandate was announced.
On Monday AHS said, “We will not be calling on unimmunized casual staff for shifts after the policy deadline.”
Employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers have until Nov. 30 to be fully immunized and submit proof of vaccination.
“We are grateful to all who have already submitted their proof of immunization and continue to go above and beyond to keep each other and our patients safe,” states AHS.
Alberta Health Services added that it continues to review staffing levels, and to recruit and retain staff to address staffing challenges related to COVID-19 and to fill vacant positions in parts of central Alberta.
“Sites are refining contingency plans to ensure Albertans continue to have access to safe, quality care in the event there are staffing gaps as a direct result of the vaccination policy.”