COVID-19: 1,293 new cases, five new deaths, hospital bed capacity at 87 per cent as Alberta battles uptick in variants

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More-infectious COVID-19 variants make up nearly half of Alberta’s active cases, health officials said Saturday.

Alberta reported 1,293 additional cases of the novel coronavirus, 876 of which have been identified as variants of concern.

The test positivity rate was 9.1 per cent.

Of Alberta’s 13,687 active cases, 6,529 (47.7 per cent) are variants that have elevated infection rates.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, is now the dominant strain in Alberta.

There were 349 people in hospital, 84 of whom were in intensive care. Hospital bed capacity sat at 87 per cent.

Five Albertans have died of the virus since last report, bringing the total to 2,012.

There were 2,172 active cases in the city of Edmonton, 5,156 in the city of Calgary.

Health-care workers injected 24,924 new vaccines in the past 24 hours, for a total of 828,835 vaccinations.

The provincial R-value, which measures how many people a sick person can be expected to go on to infect, sat at 1.17. Case counts are expected to continue growing whenever the R-value is above one.

After announcing new containment measures earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney said Saturday that he believes Alberta’s vaccination campaign will have conferred enough immunity to lift most restrictions by June.

— with files from Dylan Short

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