Alberta doesn't budge on COVID-19 restrictions as 678 new cases discovered

Jan 21 2021, 3:06 pm

Alberta reported 678 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, but that steady number won’t mean more relaxed restrictions for the province.

Alberta will keep its current restrictions in place for now, Dr. Deena Hinshaw told reporters. She also nixed the possibility of opening up rural areas of the province.

“I think there’s a misconception that there’s no cases and no impact on rural zones,” she said. “When we look at … hospitalizations and cases by zone, we still see that we have fairly high numbers in some of the rural zones.”

To illustrate her point, Hinshaw said the number of hospitalizations today is just as high as December 8 — the day restrictions were put in place.

“We need to continue driving community transmission down,” Hinshaw said.

That appears to be happening gradually, as active cases, the positivity rate, and hospitalizations gradually fall. But Hinshaw asked Albertans to continue postponing in-person hangouts until new infections are more under control.

Another 16 people died of their infections Thursday, bringing Alberta’s death toll to 1,500.

There are currently 726 people in hospital, including 119 in intensive care.

Alberta has seen 119,114 total cases since the pandemic began, and 10,256 of them are considered active.

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