Alberta's chief medical officer of health says restrictions could be eased on March 1 if the province decides to move ahead with Step 2 of its reopening plan that day.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday the Alberta government would discuss the next step of its Path Forward plan next Monday, and if officials decided to ease restrictions, businesses would then be given one more week to prepare, putting them on course to reopen on March 8.

However, on Tuesday, Dr. Hinshaw clarified the one week's notice was a commitment made particularly for restaurants in Step 1 and that it may not be needed anymore.

"We know that lead times vary by sectors and business," Hinshaw said. "Given that each step in the Path Forward contains a unique element, the same notice may not be required for businesses in steps 2, 3 or 4.

"If a decision is made on March 1 to move to the next step, it is possible the restrictions could be eased the same day. This decision will depend on what we see in our leading indicators this week."

On Tuesday, Alberta Health reported 267 cases from more than 6,300 tests and said there are 326 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, including 51 in ICU.

She also reported 11 more deaths caused by the coronavirus.

PHASE 1B OF VACCINATIONS

Albertans 75 or older, including those who turn that age this year, can begin to book appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday at 8 a.m.

People born on 1946 or ealier, as well as First Nations and Metis who are 65 or older, are part of Alberta's Phase 1B.

"We have increased staffing for Health Link to make sure that any senior who wants an appointment can get an appointment as quickly as possible, but we know this will take weeks to achieve," Hinshaw said. "For many folks, I know it may feel like you've been waiting a very long time for the vaccine and you are keen to get a first dose, as soon as possible. I'm asking everyone booking appointments to please be patient, especially in the first few days.

"For those who try to book after all initial appointments have been filled up: Remember that new appointments will be made available as more vaccine arrives. With the doses we are anticipating receiving, all Alberta seniors who want vaccine will be able to get their first dose before the end of March. It may just take a little bit of time to get your appointment as availability depends on the timing of the supply we receive in the province."

Alberta Health Services has administered 180,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 73,000 have been fully immunized, Hinshaw said.