The province was planning to lift even more COVID-19 mandates on August 16.
On Friday, August 13, Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an Alberta COVID-19 update to the public. The health official noted that "two items have emerged that have led me to recommend that we adjust our approach and defer the changes originally scheduled for August 16."*
The first item is that non-ICU hospitalizations have risen and are currently 62% higher than the government predicted they would be at this time.
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The second deciding factor in this delay, according to Hinshaw, is emerging evidence from the U.S. about pediatric cases with the Delta variant. Alberta's original projections were based on data from the U.K., but the U.S. data is showing more pediatric Delta cases, which Hinshaw believes is a result of the level of adult immunization.
In Alberta, just over 67% of the eligible population is immunized. Hinshaw said that this is not meant to scare Albertans, noting that "since July 1, we have only had 7 cases in hospital under the age of 18."
"Based on these developing factors, I've recommended that we pause the next step in our transition for a period of six weeks until September 27," the doctor said.
"For the time being, provincial masking orders for transit, school buses, taxis and ride-shares remain in effect. Isolation will continue to be legally required for those with core COVID-19 symptoms and those who test positive for COVID-19, and symptomatic testing will continue to be available at assessment centres by self-referral."
*This article has been updated.