Alberta's government says we will see an increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.
The Omicron subvariant BA.2 now makes up about 80 per cent of new cases in the province, bringing the potential for increased transmission and hospitalizations. Alberta's positivity rate saw a slight increase, up to 26.3 per cent from last week's rate of 24.5 per cent.
"We're monitoring it closely," said Health Minister Jason Copping.
"But it remains to be seen how much more increase we'll see, and in particular, how that will translate into serious illness and hospital admissions."
Currently, there are 990 people in hospital with COVID-19 (up 26 from last week) and 44 in intensive care (down three from last week). Since the start of the pandemic, 4,104 Albertans have passed away due to the virus.
In response to the rise in cases, Alberta's government is expanding access to fourth vaccine doses and Paxlovid to protect people from severe outcomes.
Effective Apr. 6, Paxlovid eligibility has expanded to include First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people age 45 and older who are unvaccinated or have only received one dose of vaccine. Eligibility also includes individuals living in long-term care and designated supportive living settings, regardless of vaccination status.
Beginning Apr. 12, all Albertans age 70 and older, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta age 65 and older, and all seniors in congregate care regardless of age can receive a fourth dose of vaccine.
Eligible individuals can book their fourth dose provided at least five months have passed since their third.
Also, on Apr. 12, Alberta will receive 10,000 doses of Novavax's Nuvaxovid, a two-dose protein subunit vaccine that does not use mRNA technology and is approved for those 18 and older.
Due to limited supply, appointments for this vaccine can be booked by calling 811 only.
Children aged six to 11 will also have an additional option with the Moderna mRNA vaccine beginning on the 12th.