Alberta reports 1,980 new COVID-19 cases as vaccine rollout picks up speed

Alberta's vaccine rollout is picking up speed with nearly 60,000 doses administered on Thursday, the same day the province started offering appointments to anyone over 30.

Province administered nearly 60,000 vaccine doses Thursday

About 40 per cent of Albertans over 16 now have their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, says Health Minister Tyler Shandro. (AHS)

Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine rollout is picking up speed with nearly 60,000 doses administered on Thursday, the same day the province opened bookings to anyone over 30.

Alberta Health confirmed 57,716 doses were distributed, the highest total recorded in a single day. With adjustments to previous days, there have now been 1,792,312 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Alberta in total. 

It comes as Alberta contends with the highest provincial case rate in the country, up to 561 per 100,000 people, more than double Ontario's rate. 

The province reported 1,980 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths on Friday. 

Hospitalizations increased to 659, including 150 people in intensive care beds. 

The province's test positivity rate was just over 10.4 per cent. 

Alberta rolled back testing for coronavirus variants this week, citing a rapid increase in positivity rates and test volumes. Variant testing is now limited to hospital patients, health-care workers, recent travellers and people involved in outbreaks.

Here are the province's 24,850 active cases broken down by health zone: 

  • Calgary zone: 10,859
  • Edmonton zone: 5,969
  • North zone: 3,772
  • Central zone: 2,901
  • South zone: 1,335
  • Unknown: 24

The next slate of COVID-19 restrictions will come into force Monday, including the closure of patios and personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo shops. As of Monday, Albertans 12 and older will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment.