Alberta reported 17 additional COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours Tuesday.
In total, 1,463 people have died from the virus in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.
It was a deadly day for Central zone, with five of the new deaths coming from the region including a man in his 80s linked to the Points West Living outbreak in Red Deer. The four other deaths were from Jan. 16: a female in her 80s, a female in her 70s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 80s.
According to the geospatial mapping on the Alberta government website, the five central zone deaths were: two in Red Deer, one in Red Deer County, one in Wetaskiwin and one in Ponoka County.
“These were parents, grandparents, siblings, coworkers, neighbours and friends to many. Their loss is felt by communities across Alberta,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in her daily press briefing.
The province reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases Tuesday and now has 11,096 active cases of the virus. Alberta completed more than 8,200 COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours and has a test positivity rate of 5.6 per cent.
Hinshaw said 740 people were in hospital across the province, including 119 in the ICU.
Hinshaw said the province is still unsure about when they will be able to ease the current COVID-19 restrictions, which are due to expire Thursday.
“It’s natural to want to get back to all the things that we’ve missed during the last six weeks. However, our health system is still under severe strain, with 740 people still in hospital,” she said.
“This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs that Albertans have.”
Central zone sits at 1,050 cases of COVID-19, with 58 people in hospital and nine in intensive care.
Red Deer now has 17 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic and has 171 active cases of COVID-19. Red Deer County sits at 42 active cases of the virus.
Lacombe has 22 active cases and Lacombe County has 20.
Sylvan Lake sits at 31 active cases and Olds has 18.
Mountain View County has 22 active cases, Kneehill County has seven active and Clearwater County sits at 85 active. Ponoka County, the County of Wetaskiwin and Wetaskiwin have 453 combined active cases of COVID-19.
Camrose has eight active cases and Camrose County sits at 52 active.
In schools, there are 147 with active alerts and two with outbreaks. There are 212 cases linked to those schools.
Hinshaw also addressed the vaccine shortage in her briefing Tuesday. She said the province still has some Moderna vaccine for second doses and did get a shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week.
Hinshaw added officials were only notified Tuesday that the province would not receive any more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week.
“Second dose vaccine for those who live in long-term care or designate supportive living is our top priority. Getting doses for those high-risk individuals will be prioritized,” she said.
In a media release Tuesday, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said the province has no choice but to postpone first-dose appointments for eligible health-care workers and focus on second doses for those who have already been vaccinated. He added that some second dose appointments may be delayed as well.