Alberta reports an estimated 950 new cases of COVID-19, 600 new variant cases

A surge in COVID-19 infections and variant cases in Alberta continued Sunday with reports of an estimated 950 new cases, and 600 new variant cases.

Preliminary data released by the province marked a new daily record of cases involving variants of concern, which now account for about 38 per cent of active cases. 

On Saturday, Alberta had reported an estimated 550 additional cases of variants of concern after Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, warned of a “significant” COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta involving the variant first found in Brazil, known as P.1, linked to a returning traveller. 

An Alberta Health Services spokesperson said they could not confirm Sunday whether the traveller had travelled internationally or domestically. 

“We will update Albertans tomorrow when we have more details available,” AHS spokesperson Tom McMillan said in an email Sunday. Alberta Health has not revealed the location of the variant outbreak and number of cases connected. 

Provincial labs completed about 11,200 laboratory tests for the virus on Saturday, with a positivity rate of eight per cent. 

Hospitalizations continue to “remain stable,” Hinshaw said. 

The province is only reporting preliminary data over the Easter long weekend, but will have full data available Monday.

The last full update on Thursday saw 292 patients in hospital being treated for the disease, including 59 in intensive care unit beds. The number of active cases in the province was 8,653 — more than double a low of just over 4,000 in February and the highest count since Jan. 25.

The total number of variant cases was 4,377 on Thursday, of which 2,820 were active. 

It’s not known how many, if any, new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the previous 24 hours as they were not included in Sunday’s preliminary update.

As of Thursday, the province had seen 1,994 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

About 8,000 vaccine doses were administered Saturday, Hinshaw said, bringing the provincial total to an estimated 693,000 doses to date. 

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