Alberta reports more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases, more restrictions for hot spots

EDMONTON — Alberta reported more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time in the pandemic and set a record for active cases on Thursday.

The province is also introducing targeted restrictions in regions with a case rate of 350 per 100,000 residents and a minimum of 250 active cases. Premier Jason Kenney said that includes Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Airdrie, Lethbridge and Strathcona County.

In these regions, junior and high schools will shift to online learning starting Monday, and indoor fitness and team sports will be suspended, Kenney said.

The restrictions will remain in place for two weeks, even if a city drops below the 350-case rate threshold during that period. They will return to the provincewide restrictions after the two weeks.

Curfews could be enacted in regions with a case rate of 1,000 per 100,000 residents, if the municipality asks the province.

“I hope that these measures, together with everything else that’s been in place — many of those rules for months, some of them for a year — I hope that all of that will be sufficient,” Kenney said. “If Albertans respond to this call for buckling down in the next few weeks, but if that’s not the case, and if we continue to see current levels of case growth, then we will consider bringing forward additional restrictions.

“And I’ll say something very clearly that I’ve not said before: At this point, I encourage people, if they can possibly do so, to stay home.”

Thursday’s 2,048 COVID-19 cases break Dec. 14’s record of 1,887 infections, and 21,385 active cases break the record of 20,976 also set in mid-December.

Alberta also set an ICU record with 151 admissions, while a total of 632 people diagnosed with COVID-19 are in hospital.

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