Active COVID-19 cases in the Edmonton area fell below 1,000 Friday for the first time since the end of February.
Declining by almost 100 the day previous, active cases in the Edmonton Zone sat at 929 on Friday. A month ago, there were over 5,000. The region’s active cases haven’t been below 1,000 since Feb. 27.
The dip comes as Alberta discovered fewer than 200 daily cases across the province four times in the last week, with 170 new cases reported Friday. The number of people falling seriously ill from the disease also continued to decline, with 296 in hospital including 79 in ICU.
Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported by Alberta Health on Friday, including a woman in her 60s in the Edmonton Zone, and two men in the Calgary Zone in their 60s and 80s. In Alberta, 2,265 people have died from the disease, and there are 3,529 active cases province-wide.
Across the Edmonton Zone, just over 71 per cent of residents 12 and up had one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 17 per cent had two. The vaccination rate is slightly higher than the provincial average of 67.8 per cent with one dose and 16.7 per cent with two doses.
Health officials have been looking to increase vaccination rates as demand for the jab has slowed.
Alberta Health Services held a walk-in vaccination blitz this week at the Edmonton Expo Centre to boost the numbers. After Friday, bookings will be by appointment only.
So far, 11,551 of the 20,610 available appointments at Edmonton Expo Centre until next Friday have been booked. AHS has nearly 20,000 appointment slots still available across the province until the end of next week.
Premier Jason Kenney said he’s even considering a lottery or some other kind of incentive to entice Albertans to get the jab.
Stage 3 of Alberta’s summer reopening plan has a benchmark of 70 per cent of Albertans with one jab, at which point nearly all health restrictions will be removed two weeks after meeting that goal. Alberta entered Stage 2 on Thursday.