Alberta detects 54 new variant cases of COVID-19; Hinshaw encourages people to get vaccinated

The spread of these variants of COVID-19 is concerning because they have proven highly contagious

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Another 54 variant cases of COVID-19 were detected in Alberta as the province reported a four per cent test positivity rate on Sunday.

The number of variant cases identified in Alberta toppled 600 on Sunday, with another 51 cases of B.1.1.7, the variant from the U.K., and three cases of B.1.351, the strain first detected in South Africa. Alberta has now logged 653 variant cases since they spread to the province several weeks ago.

The spread of these variants of COVID-19 is concerning because they are highly contagious. The first case of the U.K. strain to have no direct link to international travel in Alberta was detected on Jan. 25, when only 25 total B.1.1.7 and five B.1.351 cases had been reported.

Alberta has now documented 640 cases of the U.K. strain and 13 of the variant first identified in South Africa.

An estimated 300 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sunday. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, provided the update on Twitter instead of on Alberta Health’s website due to a system upgrade. Sunday’s update did not include all the usual daily data because of this.

The 300 cases came from approximately 8,100 completed tests, representing a positivity rate of four per cent. This was slightly lower than the 4.2 per cent positivity rate reported on Saturday when Alberta logged another 341 cases.

Nearly 100,000 Albertans are fully immunized against the novel coronavirus. By the end-of-day Saturday, the province had administered 290,391 doses of COVID-19 vaccine which includes 90,937 people who have received their first and second jabs.

This was just under 8,000 more shots administered than the day prior.

“Vaccines save lives and I encourage everyone to get immunized when it’s your turn,” Hinshaw said on Twitter.

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Hinshaw also reminded the public to continue adhering to public health measures.

“Please remember that we must all adhere to store capacity limits and only dine-in (with) our household or designated contacts. Ordering online, take-out and curbside pick-up are also great options that will help keep you, your loved ones and your community safe,” said Hinshaw on Twitter.

On Saturday, the province reported a single new COVID-19 death, a woman in her 80s linked to an outbreak at the Aspen House long-term care facility in Morinville. This is the fewest number of deaths from COVID-19 Alberta has reported in a single day in 2021.

As of Saturday, the province’s death toll from COVID-19 sits at 1,914.

There were 247 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 42 in intensive-care units, as of Saturday. This was an increase from the 243 in hospital on Friday.

sbabych@postmedia.com
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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