Alberta reported an additional 1,616 COVID-19 cases heading into the weekend.
The province now has 16,759 active cases of the virus and completed 16,876 COVID-19 tests for a test positivity rate of 9.6 per cent.
Red Deer has also seen a spike in active COVID-19 cases, adding 93 in the past week – from Tuesday’s 279 to Friday’s 372.
“Red Deer’s active cases are on the rise and with the B.1.1.7 variant now accounting for more than half the active cases in our province, we know the risk of infection is high,” the City of Red Deer said in a Facebook post.
“As we head into the weekend, please continue to follow public health guidelines. We know these guidelines involve sacrifices, but these are sacrifices we need to make for the safety of our community and our healthcare system.”
Across the province, Alberta added 898 new variant of concern cases Friday. In total there are 8,967 active variant cases, making up 53 per cent of Alberta’s total active cases.
There are also 423 people in hospital across the province with COVID-19, including 93 in intensive care.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that as those numbers continue to rise, the province will need to consider additional restrictions, especially as variant cases continue to grow.
“It’s very clear that our numbers are rising, our hospitalizations are rising, our ICU admissions are rising and it’s having an impact on our ability to offer in-person learning in some places. All of us have a role to play in preventing transmission by reducing the number of in-person interactions with people outside our household,” said Hinshaw on Thursday.
“While the multiple considerations around restrictions are worked through, that doesn’t preclude us from taking action in the things that we do every day to stop transmission and bring our numbers down.”
Hinshaw also said Thursday, that Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination plan will start in mid to late May depending on shipments of vaccines.
Phase 3 rolls out vaccines to the general public.
“It will only take a few weeks to move through. I want to reassure all Albertans who are not currently in Phase 2, that when we open Phase 3, we anticipate moving extremely quickly through the rest of the population,” she said.
In the Central zone, there are 1,629 active cases of the virus, with 40 in hospital and four in intensive care.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 101 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 69 active and Clearwater County sits at 18 active.
Lacombe has 66 active and Sylvan Lake has 52 active cases, while Olds sits at 62 active. Mountain View County sits at 66 active, Kneehill County has 39 active and Drumheller has 24 active.
Camrose County sits at 75 active cases and the County of Stettler has 13.
Camrose is at 92 active cases and Wetaskiwin has 131 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 232 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 117 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has 20 active.