A total of 16,300 lab tests Thursday showed an eight per cent positivity rate for Alberta, the chief medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Twitter on Friday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

5 new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone– 38 deaths provincially a new daily record for Alberta

Two of the most recent deaths were in Red Deer, two in Camrose

Tuesday was one of the deadliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic for Alberta.

The province announced 38 deaths due to the virus over the past 24 hours, most of which took place in Calgary and Edmonton. It was the highest number of deaths reported in one day, since Dec. 17. There have been 1,345 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Five of the new deaths were also in the Central zone. The most recent death in the zone was Jan. 11, a male in his 80s, linked to an outbreak at Seasons Camrose. A male in his 50s and a female in her 90s died on Jan. 9. Two males in their 80s also died in the zone, one on Jan. 8 and the other on Jan. 10.

Two of the deaths were in Red Deer, two were in Camrose and one was in Sylvan Lake.

“These figures are not just numbers, they are lives. They involve somebody who was loved. My thoughts go out to everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, from any cause,” said Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Hinshaw said she hopes 2021 will be less deadly than 2020, mostly because of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is critical that until we are able to offer that vaccine to everyone at that high risk, we continue to work together to protect them,” she said.

The province announced an additional 652 cases of COVID-19, with 9,300 tests completed over the past 24 hours. Hinshaw said that the provincial positivity rate is 6.8 per cent. There are 819 people in hospital, with 132 in the ICU.

The Central zone has 1,394 active cases of the virus, with 84 people in hospital, including 16 in the ICU. There have been 62 deaths in the zone since the start of the pandemic.

Red Deer has 225 active cases of the virus and 12 deaths total. Red Deer County sits at 49 active cases and Lacombe County has 30 active. Lacombe has 34 active cases of COVID-19, Sylvan Lake has 31 active and Olds has 29 active.

Mountain View County sits at 22 active, Clearwater County has 12 active and Clearwater County has 73 active.

Camrose has 57 active cases and Camrose County sits at 15 active.

Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin and Wetaskiwin have 623 active cases of the virus.