Background Coronavirus Disease MESHD 2019 (COVID-19) continues to have an unprecedented global effect on health and daily life, with many countries struggling to adapt to the adverse pandemic impact. While strict public health measures are necessary to slow the virus’ spread, these measures may adversely affect individual mental health and wellbeing. Texting-based programs offer organizations a feasible and cost-effective option to deliver mental health supports and to collect population-level data. This study reports on the prevalence SERO rate and demographic correlates of perceived stress on the one-week data obtained from Text4Hope enrollees during the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods This was a cross-sectional study that used the Perceived Stress Scale to determine the one-week prevalence SERO for perceived stress in Alberta. Univariate and binomial logistic regression analysis were used to determine the demographic correlates (i.e., gender TRANS, age TRANS, ethnicity, educational attainment, employment status, relationship status, and housing status) of moderate/high perceived stress.Results One week after the program launch, 32,805 individuals were enrolled. 6,041 enrollees completed the baseline survey (18.4% response rate). 84.7% of respondents reported moderate/high stress. All demographic variables, except ethnicity, were significantly associated with moderate/high stress (p < 0.001). Females TRANS were 1.5 times more likely to report moderate/high stress (95% CI = 1.2–1.9) than males TRANS. Compared to respondents in the 26–40 years, 41–60 years, and > 60 years of age categories TRANS, those ≤ 25 years of age TRANS were 1.9 (95% CI = 1.1–3.4), 3.4 (95% CI = 1.9–6.3), and 5.3 (95% CI = 2.8–10.0) times more likely to report moderate/high stress, respectively. Unemployed individuals were 2.5 times more likely to report moderate/high stress (95% CI = 1.8–3.6) than employed individuals. Retirees were 1.6 times less likely to report moderate/high stress (95% CI = 1.1–2.2) than employed respondents. Respondents renting a home were 1.7 times more likely to report moderate/high stress (95% CI = 1.3–2.1) than home owners.Conclusion Prevalence SERO rate for perceived stress during the COVID-19 pandemic is very high in Alberta, signaling detrimental pandemic impacts on mental health. Our demographic correlates of perceived stress align with research results from other jurisdictions.Trail registration: The study was approved by the University of Alberta Human Research Ethics Board (Pro00086163).