Alberta saw an increase in daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 696 new infections reported.
This raised the province’s active case count to 5,429, compared to 5,084 on Thursday. Testing positivity was at 5.7%.
There were 130 additional cases of variants of concern identified on March 18, bringing the provincial total to 1,318 variant cases.
Currently, 276 Albertans are in hospital due to COVID-19, including 48 in intensive care.
No new COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, and the province’s death toll remains at 1,957.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw expressed optimism in a tweet on Friday afternoon.
There are 276 people in hosp, incl 48 in ICU. There were no new deaths reported to us over the past 24hrs. It has been 5 days since a COVID-19 death was reported in continuing care. This is a positive sign that vaccines combined w/public health measures are working. (2/4)
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) March 19, 2021
Vaccination appointments opened to all remaining birth years in Phase 2A on Friday morning. This includes Albertans born from 1947 to 1956, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals born between 1962 and 1971.
All staff and residents of licensed seniors supportive living facilities who were not included in Phase 1 are also eligible to receive their immunization.
Participating pharmacies continue to schedule vaccine appointments for anyone born in 1956 or earlier.
As of March 18, 439,069 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province, and 92,935 Albertans have now received the two doses required to be considered fully immunized.
Dr. Hinshaw will provide another live update on Monday, March 22.