Variant cases and test positivity spike as Alberta records 576 new cases on Tuesday

EDMONTON — Variant cases and test positivity both showed sharped climbs Tuesday as Alberta reported 576 new cases.

Among those were a one-day high of 332 variant cases which now make up just under 30 per cent of the province’s 7,975 active cases. All of the variant cases were of the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Test positivity spiked to 7.65 per cent, the highest value since early January, near the height of the second wave. Alberta Health notes the value may be inflated due to a mass upload of historical tests linked to the federal prison in Drumheller.

Four more Albertans have died due to COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,983.

There are now 301 COVID-19 patients in hospital including 58 in intensive care units. 

Variant cases continue to grow and now constitute 29.8 per cent of all active cases, up from 27.2 per cent yesterday and 10.7 per cent two weeks ago. 

Variants require a second screening of an already positive test which results in a delay in reporting cases.

More than 620,000 doses of vaccines have now been administered across the province.

Earlier Tuesday, about 945,000 more Albertans became eligible to book a vaccine appointment as the province moves to Phase 2B of its vaccination plan.

Yesterday, Alberta was among several provinces to restrict its use of the AstraZeneca vaccine given to those under the age of 55. 

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says that vaccine remains useful for many and will continue to be given to those over the age of 55.

Dr. Hinshaw is scheduled to give her next in-person update on Thursday afternoon.

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