Alberta breaks 300-patient mark as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue upward trend
Screening identifies 332 new cases linked to more contagious variants
Alberta passed an important COVID-19 mile marker on Tuesday — moving in the wrong direction — with 301 patients now being treated in hospitals for the illness.
Last week, the province postponed moving to Step 3 of its reopening plan, citing hospitalization numbers as one key reason for that decision.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro made the announcement on March 22, when there were 280 COVID-19 patients in Alberta hospitals. Shandro at the time called that number a "warning sign" the province had no choice but to take seriously.
Eight days later, another 21 patients are in hospital. Tuesday's total includes 58 people in ICU beds.
The province reported four more deaths on Tuesday and 576 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 7,975.
Screening identified 332 cases linked to more contagious variants of the coronavirus, which now account for 29.8 per cent of all active cases.
Laboratories conducted 8,078 tests over the past 24 hours. The positivity rate was 7.1 per cent.
All of those numbers are moving in the wrong direction.
Like much of Canada, and indeed many countries around the world, Alberta finds itself grappling with variant cases, which spread more quickly than the original strain of the virus.
Alberta has now identified 3,649 variant cases, of which 2,376 are active.
The province's death toll now stands at 1,987, including 23 people who contracted what are called "variants of concern."
A total of 15,581 specimens collected from those who tested positive have been screened for the variants.
The regional breakdown of active cases on Tuesday was:
- Calgary zone: 3,772
- Edmonton zone: 1,762
- North zone: 906
- South zone: 815
- Central zone: 693
- Unknown: 27