Alberta reported 505 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon and announced one additional death related to the virus.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that, of the new cases, 91 are variants of concern, which represent about 12% of active cases. The province has seen a total of 1,169 variants of concern.
Alberta now has 5,084 active COVID-19 cases. Dr. Hinshaw said the province’s positivity rate is hovering at 4.8%, a slight increase from Wednesday.
Currently, 264 Albertans are in hospital due to the virus, and, among those, 43 people are in intensive care.
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Dr. Hinshaw noted that Lethbridge and its surrounding areas have recently seen a rise in infections. On February 25, Lethbridge had 19 active cases. On Wednesday, March 16, the community reached 469 active cases.
Alberta’s top doctor reiterated how important it is to continue following COVID-19 restrictions, regardless of what region you reside in.
“We know that COVID-19 doesn’t care where we live. This virus, like any other, simply wants to reproduce and spread to as many people as possible, and no region is immune from its spread.”
Many cases are linked to family gatherings, visits b/w households, ppl w/mild symptoms who don’t stay home/get tested right away & faith gatherings w/no masking/distancing. Most are doing their part but the actions of a few people can have far-reaching impact. (5/7)
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) March 18, 2021
Dr. Hinshaw said she was pleased to announce that, beginning Friday morning, Alberta Health Services will open vaccination appointments to all remaining birth years in Phase 2A.
Alberta Health Services’ booking tool will be offline from 7:30 to 8 am on Friday to prepare for this change. At 8 am, appointments will be open to all eligible Albertans by booking online or calling 811.
Participating pharmacies continue to schedule vaccine appointments for anyone born in 1956 or earlier.
Dr. Hinshaw reminded Albertans that “once you become eligible, you stay eligible,” and anyone who qualified to receive the vaccine in earlier phases is still able to book their immunization appointment as the rollout expands.
More than 418,000 doses of vaccine have now been administered in the province.
Dr. Hinshaw will provide another update on Monday.