EDMONTON – Alberta’s premier is urging people to get their COVID-19 shots, saying Monday it is a critical step in helping us get back to normal.
Jason Kenney said during a COVID-19 update he was hopeful restrictions can be eased before summer hits if enough people get vaccinated in the coming weeks.
WATCH: Kenney, Hinshaw, Yiu provide the latest provincial COVID-19 update
Nearly half of Albertans 12 or older have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.
Kenney said he expects Alberta to pass the 50 per cent mark either Monday or Tuesday this week and he’s hoping to see about 70 per cent of the population vaccinated in early June.
But, for now, restrictions are staying largely the same. The only amendment Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced was a change to allow drive-in movies to operate.
“I know we’d all hoped we’d be out of this by now,” said Kenney. “We still have a ways to go yet.”
He says no one wants restrictions in place and everyone wants to be done with the pandemic, but we need to work together to finish the marathon.
“Albertans have stepped up to the plate in a big way,” he said, adding case counts in the province have been steadily decreasing thanks to people following restrictions and getting vaccinated.
Kenney says that easing restrictions too quickly runs the risk of impacting the healthcare system, meaning more cancelled surgeries among other problems.
He said reopening will be heavily impacted by how many people are immunized and hospitalization numbers. He also says reopening could start as early as next week.
Kenney says re-opening plan is likely to come next week, and will probably be tied to vaccine rates.
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Alberta is also launching a new online map breaking down vaccination rates by geographical area, which will include one dose, fully immunized, and doses by age groups.
There are 22,280 active COVID-19 cases in the province with 186 people in ICUs.
The positivity rate in Alberta is just below 10 per cent.