Alberta reported 2,211 additional COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the number of active cases in the province to 24,497.
Of the new cases, 536 were variants of concern, which is much less than Wednesday’s count of 903. Alberta currently has 13,549 active COVID-19 variant cases, representing just over 55% of the province’s total active infections.
The number of hospitalizations in the province due to the virus has decreased by 12 since Wednesday, to 654. This includes 146 Albertans in intensive care.
No new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported over the last 24 hours, leaving the province’s total number of deaths at 2,102.
The total number of cases that Alberta has reported throughout the course of the pandemic is now at 203,135, with 176,536 individuals having recovered from the virus as of May 5.
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During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, reminded Albertans about a change that the province recently made to screening for variants of concern.
“Variants are now, and will continue to be, the dominant strain in our province,” she said, adding that everyone should assume that each new case is a variant.
As cases continue to rise, Alberta labs have had to adjust their testing strategy, and are no longer screening every sample for variants, freeing up capacity to ensure people get their COVID-19 test results back as soon as possible.
Labs will continue to monitor the spread of variants. “They are screening a representative sample of positive cases every day for variants of concern,” said Dr. Hinshaw. “This includes continuing to screen cases associated with outbreaks, healthcare workers, and returning travellers, among others.”
Officials also continue to ensure that samples are representative of all areas of the province.
Dr. Hinshaw will provide her next live update about COVID-19 in Alberta early next week.