Active COVID-19 cases rise in Alberta as other provinces announce restrictions

Alberta Health announced Friday it had confirmed 553 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, out of 9,694 tests.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the province rose to 4,431, up 219 from Thursday. The active case number has been rising this week. On Wednesday it was 4,082, up slightly from 4,016 active cases Tuesday.

However, hospitalizations continued to trend down slightly. As of Friday, there were 344 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19 (as compared to 352 on Thursday), 68 of which were being treated in ICU (compared to 70 on Thursday).

Read more: COVID-19: What can you do in Alberta during the holidays?

One new COVID-related death was reported to Alberta Health in the last 24 hours, bringing the provincial death toll since the pandemic began to 3,286.

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The fatality was a man in his 70s from the Edmonton zone. Alberta Health said his case involved pre-existing conditions.

Read more: COVID-19: Number of Omicron cases in Alberta jumps to 119 from 60

There were 285 new cases involving variants identified, including 54 that were the Omicron variant of concern.

As of Friday, there were a total of 173 Omicron cases in Alberta. The number of cases identified as the Omicron variant in the Edmonton zone jumped from 19 to 63 in the last 24 hours.

As of Friday, 85.1 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older have been fully vaccinated.

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Energy Minister Sonya Savage tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson for her ministry confirmed Friday.

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She has not received any information regarding variants of concern yet.

Read more: Alberta UCP MLAs told not to travel internationally over holidays amid COVID-19 uncertainty

“She is isolating at home and all of the Alberta Health COVID-19 protocols are being followed,” chief of staff Jerry Bellikka said. “She experienced extremely mild symptoms and is feeling fine. She has not attended any public events in recent days.”

None of her constituency staff or ministry staff have tested positive, Bellikka said. One staff member was listed as a close contact but has tested negative.

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Ontario, Manitoba and B.C. announced tightened restrictions Friday, including capacity limits on restaurants, other venues and indoor gatherings.

Read more: Alberta makes ‘very modest’ changes to COVID-19 gathering rules ahead of holidays

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Earlier in the week, Alberta announced a slight easement of a couple of health restrictions to allow people from different households (up to 10 people, regardless of vaccination status) to gather during the holidays.

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