Alberta reported 582 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said of those 582, 421 were identified over the past 24 hours.
Hinshaw explained the difference in numbers was due to an error in the government’s public reporting system.
The province completed more than 11,000 tests and the COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.6 per cent.
Alberta now has 6,588 active cases of the virus, with 117,400 people recovered. There are 517 people in hospital, including 93 in intensive care. The province reported 13 additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,684. One of those 13 new deaths was in Red Deer, a man in his 60s, who died on Feb. 2. Red Deer has 21 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
In addition, there are now 68 cases of the COVID-19 variant in the province. Of the 11 new cases discovered Wednesday, all of them were the U.K. variant, but seven have no known link to travel. She noted that two of the cases that were travel-related may have potentially exposed two schools in the Calgary zone.
“We have had community spread identified since we identified our first small number of (variant) cases with no known links to travel. What we’re finding in those additional cases are other locations where that is true. That is concerning,” she said.
As of Thursday, the province is still able to test almost every COVID-19 positive case for variant strains.
“The measures that we have with respect to public health… the regular things we are asking all Albertans to do every day, those are the things that will protect us,” Hinshaw said.
“If we do them rigorously, we can prevent the variant from spreading and becoming the dominant strain.”
Central zone is down to 645 active cases, with 38 people in hospital and seven in intensive care.
Red Deer has 206 active cases of the virus, with 1,699 recovered.
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.
Red Deer County, in that setting, sits at 20 active cases and Lacombe County 27 active.
Lacombe has 16 active, Sylvan Lake has 33 active, Drumheller has 12 active and Olds sits at three active.
Mountain View County has eight active, Kneehill County has two active, Clearwater County has 42 active.
Camrose County has five active and Camrose sits at 33 active. The County of Stettler has five active.
The City of Wetaskiwin sits at 31 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 136 active cases. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 13 active cases. Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and Partial Lacombe County has one active COVID-19 case.
Overall, 304 schools, about 13 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 763 cases in total. There are 274 schools are on alert, with 514 total cases. Outbreaks are declared in 30 schools, with a total of 249 cases. In-school transmission has likely occurred in 69 schools. Of these, 54 have had only one new case occur as a result.
As of Feb. 3, 112,388 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. This is 2,541.6 doses per 100,000 population. There are now 21,794 Albertans fully immunized with two doses.
Hinshaw also addressed a phone scam reported by Alberta Health Services. Seniors over 75 are getting calls that are allegedly from AHS, to pay for the vaccine. Hinshaw said AHS would not ask for payment for COVID-19 immunizations.