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Alberta sets new high for variant COVID-19 cases, with 325 detected Friday

Variant cases made up nearly half of the 717 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta on Friday.
Kenney web
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Across Alberta, another 717 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded Friday, with 325 of them being cases of a variant of concern – the highest amount recorded in a day so far.

The variant now makes up 23.4 per cent of all active cases. So far, the province has seen 2,626 variant cases. There are 7,077 active cases in the province right now.

The province ran 13,300 tests Friday for a positivity rate of 5.4 per cent. 

There are currently 284 people in the hospital, with 59 in intensive care. There were another three deaths reported to Alberta Health in the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths since the pandemic began up to 1,979. 

On Friday morning, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he is concerned with the rising case numbers and is prepared to introduce targeted public health measures if there is an increase that threatened the health care system.

“I hope we don’t have to do that, and really the single most powerful way we could prevent that is vaccines. We need more vaccines yesterday.”

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said she was concerned with the rising cases coupled with religious holidays approaching. 

Across Canada, daily cases have increased by 30 per cent in the past two weeks as the country moves into the third wave of the pandemic. The country is expected to hit around one million total cases next week, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Tam said right now the country is racing to get vaccines out before the variant spreads further but said the roll-out can't keep up with the rapid spread of the virus. 

The country's top doctor urged Canadians to limit their contacts to prevent further spread. 

"COVID-19 still has a few tricks in store and we need to hold on together a bit stronger and longer until vaccines have us protected," Tam said.

"We are closer now than ever, but it's still too soon to relax measures."

The Public Health Agency of Canada predicts Alberta, B.C. and Ontario will see the biggest spike in daily cases after early data has shown the variant is widespread in these provinces. 

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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