Alberta reports 1,401 new COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths Friday

Alberta reported 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths Friday, hours after the provincial government announced a slew of new measures to stymie the pandemic's fourth wave.

There are now over 500 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19

Alberta reported 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — the highest daily count since May 13. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

Alberta reported its highest daily case count since May, hours after the provincial government announced a slew of new measures to stymie the pandemic's fourth wave.

Public health officials reported 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 Friday — the highest single-day spike since May 13.

The total of known active cases of COVID-19 grew by 627 since Thursday's data update. There are now 13,495 known active cases in Alberta.

Here's how active cases break down regionally:

  • Edmonton zone: 3,998
  • Calgary zone: 3,803
  • North zone: 2,563
  • Central zone: 1,712
  • South zone: 1,398
  • Unknown: 21

Of the known active cases, 10,574 — or 78 per cent — have been identified as variant cases.

The new cases reported Friday were detected on 12,551 tests with a positivity rate of 11.31 per cent.

Meanwhile, two more men have died from COVID-19, pushing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Alberta to 2,390.

One was in his 90s and living in the south zone, the other was in his 80s and resided in the Calgary zone. Both men had pre-existing conditions, a provincial spokesperson said.

Provincial officials, including Alberta's premier and chief medical officer of health, announced a number of new measures that attempt to hinder the spread of COVID-19, free up space in hospitals and boost vaccination rates.

Provincial projections that suggest Alberta could see nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by mid-September prompted the new health measures, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during Friday's news conference. 

Among the provincial public health measures, which come into effect Saturday morning, is the return of a masking mandate for all indoor public spaces and workplaces, including public transit. There will also be a curfew placed on alcohol sales.

The latter was necessary because there are higher rates of young people testing positive for COVID-19, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said during news conference.

There are now 515 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19, including 118 in intensive care beds. As a result, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is postponing scheduled surgeries throughout the province in order to create space in hospitals and free up resources.

Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO, told reporters Friday morning that the province had reached 95 per cent of its ICU capacity.

As of Friday's update, 70.2 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older have received two doses of vaccine, and 78.3 per cent of eligible people have received at least one jab.

Both rates are the lowest among the provinces, according to CBC's vaccine tracker.

Unvaccinated Albertans continue to make up the majority of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Nearly 77.7 per cent of those in hospital are unvaccinated, about 3.7 per cent are partially vaccinated and just over 18.6 per cent have received two doses.

Premier Jason Kenney, trying to incentivize people to roll up their sleeves, announced Friday the provincial government would start paying $100 to people who get a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.