Dr. Deena Hinshaw to update Alberta on third wave of COVID-19 pandemic

Alberta reported 717 new cases of COVID-19 linked to highly contagious variants of the coronavirus on Thursday.

People infected with those variants now make up about 45 per cent of all active cases in the province.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw updated the province at a news conference on Thursday.

On Thursday, Alberta reported a total of 1,429 new cases, the highest total seen this year.

Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported, and Alberta hospitals were treating 340 patients for the illness, including 83 people in ICU beds.

The surge in cases coincides with a move to reinstate more stringent public-health restrictions. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Tuesday the province will effectively return to Step 1 restrictions in an effort to curb infections and ease pressures on the health-care system. 

Restaurants must close their indoor dining. Retail businesses must further limit capacity. Libraries will shutter. Gyms are facing further restrictions and group adult fitness activities are now prohibited. Indoor gatherings remain banned. 

Kenney and public health officials have characterized the situation as a battle between variants vaccinations. 

About 779,000 vaccine doses have now been administered across the province, Hinshaw said.

More than 1.5 million Albertans are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The Kenney government has said that every adult in the province will be offered the vaccine by the end of June.

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