Alberta reports 1,646 new cases of COVID-19, five more deaths

Alberta reported 1,646 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of new cases reported in one day since Dec. 13. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, updated the province on efforts to lessen the impact of the third wave of COVID-19. 

Hinshaw said 1,020 cases of variants of concern were reported Thursday. Variants now account for 54 per cent of active cases.

Five more deaths were reported on Thursday.

There are 416 people now in hospital, 86 of them in intensive care.

Driven by the rapid spread of variants, Alberta has watched its cases and hospitalization rates surge in recent weeks and Hinshaw has warned that further public health restrictions may be necessary if Alberta fails to bend the curve.

Amid the sharp increase, Hinshaw has repeatedly encouraged all Albertans to get vaccinated as soon as they can. By Tuesday night, 1,004,123 doses of vaccine had been administered across the province, with 194,012 Albertans now fully immunized with two doses.

More than 1,300 pharmacies and 103 immunization sites are now administering the vaccine, with the province on pace to distribute more than 300,000 doses a week.

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