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Airdrie approaches 300 active COVID-19 cases as AstraZeneca eligibility expands

As numbers have come in after the weekend, Airdrie active cases continue to rise as the Province reported 289 April 18.

Data over the weekend indicate provincial and local COVID-19 cases continue to rise, as the City of Airdrie reported 289 active infections as of April 18.

According to numbers updated daily on Airdrie.ca, there have been 2,486 total cases of the virus reported in the city since March 2020. To date, 2,180 Airdronians have recovered from COVID-19 and 17 deaths have been reported.

Cases are still confirmed at 10 schools in Airdrie, according to the provincial COVID-19 status map. A.E. Bowers Elementary School is still listed under "outbreak" status, with 10 or more active cases, while Northcott Prairie School, Nose Creek Elementary School and Our Lady Queen of Peace Elementary School are all experiencing outbreaks of five to nine active cases. R.J. Hawkey Elementary School, Atlas Learning Academy Ltd., Meadowbrook School, Ralph McCall School, École Airdrie Middle School and St. Martin de Porres High School have been listed under "alert" status, meaning they are each reporting two to four active cases. 

Across the province, cases continue to rise. According to Alberta.ca, 1,391 new cases were identified on April 18, meaning there are 18,424 active cases in the province. The reported provincial numbers indicate 460 patients are in hospital with the virus as of April 14 and 104 Albertans are in intensive care units.

In total, 2,043 deaths have been reported in Alberta from COVID-19 as of April 18 – an increase of nine since April 16.

In terms of the more contagious COVID-19 variants of concern, the provincial total currently sits at 10,456 active cases. Variant cases accounted for roughly 56 per cent of active cases in Alberta as of April 14.

On the vaccination front, 1,165,223 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Alberta as of April 18, according to government figures. To date, 233,340 Albertans are fully immunized with two doses of a vaccine.

Rocky View County's COVID-19 numbers have risen slightly over the weekend, with 210 active cases reported as of April 18. Eight schools in RVC are currently on the provincial COVID-19 status map; Springbank Middle School. Edge School, Springbank Community High School, W.G. Murdoch School in Crossfield, Bearspaw School, Prince of Peace Lutheran School in Conrich, Elbow Valley Elementary School and Langdon School.

On the east side of the county, Chestermere reported 122 active cases as of April 18. Four area schools are listed on the provincial COVID-19 status map; Chestermere Lake Middle School is experiencing an outbreak of 10 or more cases, Chestermere High School is experiencing an outbreak of more than 10 cases and St. Gabriel the Archangel School is experiencing an outbreak of five to nine cases. Prairie Waters Elementary School Is also experiencing an outbreak, with a reported five to nine active cases.

Out west, Cochrane reported 152 active cases of the virus as of April 18, while seven Cochrane schools have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks, including three high schools. Bow Valley High School and Cochrane High School are experiencing an outbreak of 10 or more cases each. St. Timothy High School is listed with an outbreak of five to nine active cases. Cochrane Christian Academy has also reported an outbreak with five to nine cases reported. Glenbow Elementary School, RancheView School and Manachaban Middle School are also listed on the government's COVID-19 school status map, with two to four active cases each.

On April 18, Premier Jason Kenney announced the government would be increasing its eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged 40 to 55. Previously, the AstraZeneca shots were only available to those 55 and older.

“This decision is based on growing scientific knowledge about the vaccine and is based on Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s advice,” Kenney tweeted. “Details will follow tomorrow (Monday) morning and bookings will open for Tuesday.”

While the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to those under the age of 55, Canada's federal health minister has given the go-ahead to provincial and territorial governments to dole out the shots to anyone aged 18 and older, amid an ongoing spike in COVID-19 infections across the country. The initial hesitancy was due to concerns of possible blood clotting, but health experts have since stated the chances of blood clotting as a result of receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is extremely low.