On Thursday, April 22, Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an Alberta COVID-19 update. During the update, she announced that 60% of Alberta's active COVID-19 cases are variants of concern.
She also shared that the province has identified its first case of the B.1.617 variant that is causing a significant spike in cases in India at the moment. This news came on the same day that Canada halted direct passenger flights from both India and Pakistan.
"I also must report that we have now confirmed the first case in Alberta of the B.1.617 variant, first identified in Denmark," said Hinshaw. "It's also been found in California and is a key driver in the rise of rapidly-spreading cases that we are seeing in India."
The health official noted that the variant case was a returning traveller who was coming back to Alberta from another Canadian province. She also said that "no additional cases of this variant have been detected to date."
Hinshaw also provided updated case counts, saying that 1,857 additional cases of COVID-19 had been identified in Alberta in the 24 hours before the announcement.
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To book online through AHS, all you have to do is click "book online" on the site and follow the prompts. Once you hit the landing page, you will need to fill out your personal information before selecting a time slot for your appointment.
AHS says there are longer than average wait times through 811 at present. So, if you're not a fan of sitting on hold, you can also look through Alberta's Blue Cross to see which nearby pharmacies are giving out COVID-19 vaccines. There are drop-down menus that will refine your search to link you up to the closest pharmacy near you and you can give them a call directly.
An Alberta wildfire is burning through Tomahawk, a hamlet just west of Edmonton. At 12:38 a.m. on Friday, May 7, Parkland County issued a mandatory evacuation order for all residents between Highway 22 and Range Road 63, and between Township Road 510 and 524.
Everyone is being told to leave their homes immediately and bring their pets.
"This is a very exciting day for Alberta and it arrives right when we need it the most," said Kenney in an emailed press statement. "We are battling an extremely aggressive third wave of COVID-19 and we know that vaccines are our best weapon against it. By opening bookings to everybody over 12 years of age, we are taking a huge step towards stopping the spike and hopefully putting this pandemic behind us for good."
All Albertans who are born in 1991 or before can start booking their vaccinations on Thursday, May 6, with the addition of those born from 2009 to 1992 coming up the following Monday.
Everyone who is eligible can book their mRNA vaccine, which the CDC says are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, through Alberta Health Service's website, or by calling 811. Vaccination appointments can also be booked through participating local pharmacies, which Albertans can find through Alberta Blue Cross.