April 7 COVID: more restrictions, but more people can get vaccinated

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

As of April 7, 2021, Alberta has moved back into Step 1 of the ‘Path Forward,’ but is also expanding the number of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.  

Restrictions

“This wave is here,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in an April 6 press conference. The restrictions are to “buy us time to vaccinate more Albertans,” 

Step 1 means libraries can once again only do curbside pickup. Also, fitness facilities can only  allow one-on-one or one-with-household training. Adult performance activities are not allowed. There is no change to the restrictions on outdoor fitness, which is capped at 10 participants physically distanced. Children’s fitness and performance can still go ahead under the current restrictions. 

Retail must be at 15 per cent capacity or less. Starting Friday (restaurants may only have dine-in service on patios). Takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery remain options. 

Other restrictions stay at the same level as previously, says the news release. These include, but are not limited to, indoor social gatherings continue to be banned. However, outdoor gatherings of 10 people or fewer with social distancing are allowed. 

Vaccine – three changes

Phase 2B

Also, starting today (April 7), everyone eligible in COVID-19 vaccination schedule Phase 2B can book an appointment. In this phase, anyone with an eligible underlying health condition born in 2005 or earlier. They can book an appointment with participating pharmacies (in Slave Lake Rexall) or with Alberta Health Services online or by calling 811. All Albertans over 65 remain eligible. 

AstraZeneca

Also, all Albertans 55 to 64 (born 1957 to 1966) can book an AstraZeneca vaccine appointment. This is one of the three types of vaccines available.

“The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective at reducing severe illness from COVID-19,” says the news release. “The rare blood clots reported in Europe have not been reported in Canada, and risk of COVID-19 infection is far greater than any vaccine risk.

“Based on current evidence, Albertans who are 55 and older who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are at least 10 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit from COVID-19, and at least 45 times more likely to need hospital treatment for COVID-19, than they are to experience any form of the rare, treatable blood clots reported in Europe.

“Eligible Albertans in this phase can choose to wait to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to be available to them when Phase 2D opens in May.”

Walk-in appointments

Next week, the government intends to allow pharmacies to do walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations, says the news release. At the moment, people have to book an appointment. 

Nearby

Over the long weekend, Athabasca County more than doubled from 105 active to 251 active cases. Of the other regions which border the M.D. of Lesser Slave River, there was little change. On April 6, the COVID situation in the Lesser Slave River and its closest neighbours was:

  • Lesser Slave River – eight active
  • Big Lakes County – 15 active
  • Westlock County – 19 active
  • M.D. of Opportunity – seven active
  • Woodlands County – two active
  • Whitecourt – nine active
  • Athabasca County – 251 active
    • [school outbreak 97 active (new last week in March)]
  • Northern Sunrise County – six active

Lesser Slave cases could be in Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation, or in the M.D. from Assineau to Flatbush. 

Next update

The next COVID update will be on Friday, April 7. 

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