COVID-19: Alberta records 341 new cases, one death Saturday

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Alberta reported 341 new cases of COVID-19 and one death linked to the virus on Saturday.

The total number of COVID-19 variant cases identified in the province now stands at 599 after 36 more cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first found in the United Kingdom, were reported Saturday. Of the total number of variants, 589 are the B.1.1.7 variant and 10 are the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa.

Across the province, there are 4,649 active cases of COVID-19 with 247 people in hospital, including 42 in intensive care. In the Edmonton Zone, which includes the city of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities, there are 1,154 active cases. The province completed an additional 8,142 tests Friday, for a positivity rate of 4.2 per cent.

The one death reported Saturday brings the provincial death toll to 1,914. The latest death was a woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Aspen House in the Edmonton Zone.

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Through end-of-day Friday, Alberta has administered 282,674 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for 6,392.6 doses per 100,000 people. There was an increase of 6,955 doses from the previous day.

There are now 90,824 Albertans fully immunized with two doses.

Meanwhile, the province’s first COVID-19 variant outbreak at a seniors’ facility now has 37 cases, up from 31. Of the cases at Churchill Manor in Edmonton, 36 are active and 1 recovered, according to Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan. Twenty-nine of the COVID-19 cases are variants of concern.

On Saturday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said on Twitter that the number of active cases in school-aged Albertans has “declined significantly” since classes resumed Jan. 11.

“Health officials have not required any school closures to date, though sometimes operational decisions can be made by a school authority,” Hinshaw said, adding there has been a small increase in cases among those aged five to 19.

“That’s why we all must do our part to keep COVID-19 out of schools,” Hinshaw said. “This includes making safe choices outside of school, during the hours before and after class. These are just as important.”

In Calgary, Bowness High School students will move to online learning on Monday following an outbreak.

According to a letter sent to parents on Friday, in-person learning may resume March 17. Bowness Principal Jana Macdonald said “a number of cases in a short time frame” and “operational capacity challenges” led to their decision to temporarily close the school.

Because of system upgrades, the province will only provide preliminary, summary case information on Sunday. Hinshaw will return to her regular live update on Monday.

— with files from Trevor Robb

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