Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Jason Copping and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic today (November 3, 2021). 

Although several case numbers are in decline, the Premier noted that it is still important to take extra precaution. 

“Our ICU occupancy and that’s both COVID and non-COVID patients is still 139 per cent above our typical non-surge capacity and in a typical non-COVID year.  That’s why we have to continue to be cautious until the pressure on our intensive care units has reached a more manageable level,” said Kenney. 

Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed that AHS is restoring surgeries as quickly as possible as pressures on the hospitals begin to decrease. 

“I am supporting AHS in ramping up surgeries as fast as possible and as capacity recovers, AHS will give priority to Albertans who are the sickest, including cancer patients. I am very gratful to hear that cancer surgeries have fully resumed,” said Copping. 

Expanded Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

The Premier announced expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots in the province starting on Monday, November 8, 2021. 

The expanded groups include: 

  • Any Albertan aged 70 and older
  • All First Nations, Inuit, and Metis aged 18 and older who are both on and off reserve 
  • Anyone who received AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines
  • Health care workers that provide direct patient care and received their second dose less than eight weeks after their first

“The data sadly shows that Indigenous people have suffered significantly worse outcomes from COVID-19 then the general Alberta population,” said Kenney. 

Current scientific evidence shows that the general population does not need booster shots at this time.

“The latest evidence shows that vaccine effectiveness may decrease over time in individuals who fall into one of the four groups that we just mentioned. At the moment, there is no evidence or scientific advice that the general population needs booster doses now. But please rest assured that we continue to monitor the data really closely and if and when we receive scientific advice that points towards a need for booster doses in the general population, we will make sure that Albertans get them efficiently as long as that six-month interval has passed,” explained Kenney.

Missing vaccination documentation

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says that there have been some reports of Albertans who are missing their vaccination records. In some cases, those who have received their record out-of-province or out-of-country may need to upload those documents for their electronic health record. In other cases, those who cannot produce the right documentation may have to be re-immunized. 

“As Alberta Health Services cannot accept verbal history for any proof of vaccination of any kind. Re-immunization of anyone without validated proof of vaccine is recommended to ensure the individual does actually have the vaccine protection and to make sure that there is an accurate record of vaccination,” added Hinshaw. 

She noted that re-immunization would be common practice for all vaccines in the case of missing record and not just for COVID-19 vaccines. 

November 3rd new case numbers:

  • 487 new cases of the virus for November 2nd
  • 6,693 active cases in Alberta
  • 697 people are hospitalized
  • 155 people admitted to ICUs with COVID
  • 3,133 total deaths from the virus in Alberta

Active case numbers in the Central Alberta area:

  • 70 active cases in the City of Lacombe
  • 73 active cases in the County of Lacombe
  • 239 active cases in the City of Red Deer
  • 71 active cases in the County of Red Deer
  • 110 active cases in the County of Ponoka
  • 22 active cases in the Town of Sylvan Lake
  • 33 active cases in the County of Stettler

**Not all cases in the Central Zone have been included.