Premier Kenney to join Dr. Hinshaw for Alberta COVID-19 update ahead of long weekend

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will join Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw to update the province's COVID-19 status on Thursday. 

The pair are scheduled to begin their address at 3:30 p.m. MT and you can watch live on CTVNewsEdmonton.ca. Premier Kenney said Wednesday there will be no new public health restrictions announced.

Yesterday, Alberta's worsening COVID-19 trend continued as the province recorded its highest new case count in months, with 871 new cases -- the largest one-day rise since Jan. 14. 

Alberta had added more than 500 new cases every day since March 24.

There are currently 8,350 active cases in the province, up from around 4,600 at the start of March. 

Over the same period, the number of hospitalizations have gradually trended upwards and have exceeded 300 several times in the past week. The number of patients in intensive care units, now at 64, is nearly double what it was near the end of the first week of March. 

Three hundred hospitalized patients is a key metric in the province's reopening plan which required below that number "and falling" to lift restrictions.

Variant cases continue to drive the province's escalating case counts with 406 new cases reported Wednesday of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom. 

Vaccinations also continue to grow with nearly 635,000 doses administered as of the end of Tuesday, including more than 101,000 second doses. 

But, whether that's fast enough to fight off the apparent third wave is uncertain. 

Similar growth in variants across Canada has prompted several provinces, including British Columbia and Ontario, to introduce new restrictions ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Health officials from across the country have pleaded with Canadians not to gather over the Easter long weekend, fearing renewed outbreaks. 

Alberta remains first in per capita active cases among Canadian provinces.