Dr. Hinshaw to update Alberta’s COVID-19 status at 3:30

EDMONTON — Alberta reported Wednesday 339 new cases of COVID-19, including 16 more variant cases.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said officials learned earlier that day two of the variant cases were likely the result of in-school transmission. She said there were seven classes in six schools where a student with a COVID-19 variant attended school while infectious.

“Despite rigorous follow up, this is the first time in one of these schools that we have identified variant transmission occurring in that location,” she told the public.

“Health officials are responding and making sure that anyone who is at risk is in quarantine and being offered testing twice. We are being extremely cautious to protect the health of everyone involved and to limit any future transmission.”

In total, there are 5,706 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Alberta’s positivity rate sits at 3.2 per cent after 10,800 tests on Tuesday.

According to Hinshaw, there are 421 Albertans in hospital with the disease, including 77 in ICUs.

She also reported Wednesday six more COVID-19-related deaths. Since March 2020, 1,728 Albertans have died.

The province is making progress delivering second doses of vaccine to the most vulnerable; Hinshaw said 71 per cent of all long-term care and designated supportive living residents have been fully immunized. Nearly 130,000 shots have been administered.

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is set to update the province’s COVID-19 status on Wednesday afternoon a day after it recorded its lowest case count in months. 

CTV News Edmonton will livestream Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s briefing starting at 3:30 p.m. 

On Tuesday, Alberta recorded 195 new cases, its lowest daily case count since Oct. 7. Also Tuesday, testing volume continued its downward trend with slightly over 7,000 tests administered compared to nearly double that mark on Feb. 2.

Both the cities of Edmonton and Calgary’s active case counts continue to fall, with Calgary sinking below 2,000 active cases for the first time since the end of October. 

Alberta has now recorded 104 cases of variant COVID-19 strains, including 97 of the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the United Kingdom, the second most of any Canadian province.

Dr. Hinshaw has said she is concerned about the potential threat posed by the coronavirus mutations, but that “it’s not inevitable that the variant strain would become the dominant strain.”

“It really depends,” she said, “on all of us and continuing to work together to prevent the spread.”

More than 127,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province as of Feb. 7. That includes double doses given to some 32,000 Albertans who have been fully immunized. 

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