Alberta records 717 new COVID-19 cases Friday, including 325 variants

Alberta recorded 717 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, 325 of which were variant cases of concern — a new daily record for variant cases in the province.

Variants made up 23.4 per cent of active cases in Alberta as of Friday. So far, Alberta has identified 2,626 total variant cases.

Friday’s new cases came after about 13,300 tests were completed, putting the province’s positivity rate at 5.4 per cent.

Read more: Will Alberta have COVID-19 restrictions added back? Here’s what officials have to say.

Three deaths were reported to Alberta Health in the past 24 hours, all of which included comorbidities.

A woman in her 50s in the North zone and a man in his 70s in the Calgary zone died. A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Churchill Manor in Edmonton also died.

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Alberta’s death toll from COVID-19 has reached 1,979.

Click to play video: 'Canada’s top doctors call for ‘last big push’ in limiting gatherings ahead of spring holidays' Canada’s top doctors call for ‘last big push’ in limiting gatherings ahead of spring holidays

Canada’s top doctors call for ‘last big push’ in limiting gatherings ahead of spring holidays

Earlier Friday, new federal modelling data was released which shows severity indicators and daily cases of COVID-19 are back on the rise as variants of the virus continue to spread in parts of the country, with incidents highest among young adults.

Those increases are coming at a bad time, said Canada’s chief public health officer, who expressed concern with religious holidays nearing and people wanting to gather with families.

Dr. Theresa Tam said daily cases have increased more than 30 per cent over the past two weeks, with an average of 29 deaths reported daily.

Tam said that indicates we’re in a “very tight race” between vaccines and variants of concern, which make up an increasingly high proportion of new cases in several provinces.

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Read more: COVID-19 cases rising among young Canadians as deadlier variants begin to dominate

Earlier Friday, Premier Jason Kenney said he is concerned about the rise in daily cases, transmission and hospitalization.

He noted this was the reason the province made the difficult decision earlier this week not to move into Step 3 of its Path Forward plan for relaunch.

Kenney also noted Alberta is in a race between vaccines and variants.

“We need more vaccines yesterday,” he said. I don’t want the variants to win and nor do we want to inflict massive damage on people through widespread restrictions.

“That’s why the solution here is vaccines. The federal government has got to do its job to get us those doses.”

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A spokesperson with Alberta Health said there is currently vaccine supply available in the province right now and encouraged everyone in Phase 2A to book their appointment to be vaccinated as soon as possible if they haven’t already.

As of March 25, Alberta had administered 558,763 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 94,947 Albertans have been fully vaccinated with two doses.

Read more: COVID-19: What you can and can’t do for March break in Alberta

There were 284 people in hospital with COVID-19 Friday, 59 of whom were being treated in intensive care.

There were 7,077 active cases in Alberta. Of those, 3,246 were in the Calgary zone, 1,552 were in the Edmonton zone, 799 were in the South zone, 798 were in the North zone, 654 were in the Central zone and 28 were not tied to any particular zone.

So far, Alberta has recorded145,028 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 135,972 people have recovered.

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With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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