Alberta sees rise in cases, variants of concern

Alberta reports 764 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since Jan. 15

On Thursday, the province released new COVID-19 data showing variants now make up 20 per cent of all cases. Another three deaths were reported to Alberta Health, bringing the total Albertans who have died so far to 1,976 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are now 283 people receiving treatment in hospital, down one from Friday, including 65 whom are in intensive care, a decrease from the 59 reported on Friday.

Alberta reported 668 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and one additional death.

On Wednesday, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said she has been concerned since the variants arrived in the province.

The Edmonton Zone has 1,624 of the province's total active cases of COVID-19, while the Calgary Zone continues to see the highest number of infections with 3,407 active cases.

A total of 1,550 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in schools since they reopened on January 11.

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"We need to be looking at our new case numbers.our positivity rate and our R-value or that growth rate of new cases", she said.

"Spring is here. And I ask that all of us use that fact for encouragement to hang on just a few months longer to the actions that we know will protect those around us and our communities".

Dr. Deena Hinshaw made the point on Wednesday that due to changes to the way the province will be reporting variant cases, numbers will be higher than before.

The next reopening stage would have included relaxed rules on worship services. Restrictions on indoor gatherings would have been eased as well, but remain banned.

She noted that nearly half of new COVID-19 cases in Alberta were acquired at home. "There is no other activity that even comes close to that proportion of our new cases". The variants are known to spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19.

Hinshaw said there are free hotel rooms available in the province for people to isolate outside their family home.

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