Alberta reported 425 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as the province prepares to rollout the next phase of its vaccination program.   

The province also reported two additional deaths, including a woman in her 80s connected to the outbreak at Churchill Manor. 

The independent assisted living facility in Edmonton has an outbreak linked to the coronavirus variant identified in the U.K., B117.  Four people have died, and of the 67 cases connected to the outbreak, 59 are B117 cases.

An additional nine of those variant cases were identified across the province on Friday, bringing the total to 769, along with 15 total cases of the variant first identified in South Africa. 

There are 257 people in hospital, including 38 in intensive care, as of Friday. The hospitalization number has fluctuated little over the past two weeks, after dropping below 300 in mid-February. 

Active cases rose slightly across the province by 58 to 5,546, compared to Thursday’s update. 

Here is the breakdown of active cases by health zone:

Calgary zone: 1,661 Edmonton zone: 1,155 North zone: 822 South zone: 467 Central zone: 433 Unknown: 8

Health-care workers provided another 15,805 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with the total doses administered across the province standing at 333,379 as of Friday’s update. 

Next phase of vaccine program begins Monday

On Monday, Alberta will begin to book vaccine appointments for people aged 65 to 74 under what it calls Phase 2A of its immunization program. 

The province is currently rolling out AstraZeneca vaccines to all people 50 to 64 with no serious chronic health condition, and Pfizer and Moderna shots to people 75 and older. On Monday, the group caught in the middle — aged 65 to 74 — can begin to make their appointments. 

The province will initially limit bookings on Monday to all people born in 1947, those turning 74 this year. Bookings will then be expanded to other birth years in subsequent days, one year at a time. 

First Nations, Inuit and Métis people 59 and older, no matter where they live, can also start booking a Pfizer and Moderna appointment on Monday, with appointments eventually extended to people 50 and older over the following days.

Those groups can make bookings through 811 or the AHS online portal. 

Starting Saturday, the province will expand its eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to all Albertans born between 1957 and 1971, as well as First Nations, Metis and Inuit people born 1972 to 1986, based on supply. 

Those appointments are also gradually made available by birth year, with Albertans born in 1957 to 1960 eligible to book now through 811 or online, while First Nations, Métis and Inuit people born 1972 to 1975 can book through 811 only.

I continue to recommend that all Albertans get the <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19AB</a> vaccine when they’re eligible. Vaccines save lives.<br><br>Starting tomorrow at 8am, we will expand the eligibility for AztraZenca to include anyone born in 1961. You can book w/ AHS online or by calling 811. (1/4)


The chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted that while the province received 58,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this week, those supplies will “run out soon.” 

She says more doses should arrive next month.

“Once they do, we will open the same birth years again to ensure all individuals that want this vaccine and are eligible will receive it,” Hinshaw said. 

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