The province reported an additional 366 cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
In her daily update, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province had a 4.4 per cent test positivity rate with over 8,000 tests over the past 24 hours.
Alberta now has 8,652 active cases of the virus, with 626 people in hospital, including 108 in the ICU. There were an additional 14 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,587.
In her briefing, Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions.
“I know that many Albertans and impacted, businesses are eager to reopen and wishing we would move more quickly. This is understandable and I wish it was not necessary,” she said.
“We must be cautious, recognizing that the health care system in all parts of the province remains under strain.”
She added the rise of new COVID-19 variants, including ones that have shown up in Alberta, has created cause for concern. As of Jan. 25, 20 cases of the U.K. variant have been identified and five cases of the South African variant.
“It could have dire consequences for our health care system and our health,” she said.
Central zone sits at 746 active COVID-19 cases, with 32 people in hospital and eight in the ICU.
Red Deer has 161 active cases and Red Deer County has 31 active.
Lacombe has 20 active and Lacombe County 23 active.
Sylvan Lake has 24 active cases, Olds has 12 active and Drumheller sits at 10 active.
Mountain View County has 21 active, Kneehill County has four active and Clearwater County has 68 active.
Camrose has 45 active and Camrose County sits at seven active.
Ponoka County, the County of Wetaskiwin and Wetaskiwin have 227 combined active cases of the virus.
The County of Stettler has five active cases and Flagstaff County has three active.
Hinshaw also reported that in schools, there 266 on active alerts (two to four cases) and 12 on outbreak watch (five or more cases). There are a combined 526 cases among schools.
St. Joseph High School in Red Deer, is one of four schools in the province with 10 or more cases. They transitioned to online learning on Monday.