Alberta reported its all-time third-highest daily COVID-19 caseload Thursday.
The province announced an additional 1,857 COVID-19 cases on 17,524 tests, for a positivity rate of 10.7 per cent.
Thursday’s daily case total was also the highest Alberta has had in 2021 so far and the most since Dec. 13.
Red Deer is closing on an active COVID-19 record. The city reported 544 active cases of the virus Thursday, nearing the record of 565 active on Feb. 22.
Across Alberta, there are 518 people in hospital, including 116 in intensive care.
“It’s important to remember hospitalizations are a lagging indicator. These individuals in hospital were likely infected around 2-3 weeks ago. Given how high our leading indicators have been… we can expect to see this number grow in the coming days,” said Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“We must bend the curve down to prevent these severe outcomes and the subsequent impact on our health-care system.”
Hinshaw also reported an additional six deaths due to COVID-19 in the province and 1,326 new variants of concern cases. Variant cases now represent 60 per cent of Alberta’s 19,182 active cases.
Alberta also confirmed the first case of the B.1.617 variant, which was first identified in Denmark, from a returning interprovincial traveller.
That strain of the COVID-19 virus is believed to be a key driver in the rapid rise of cases in India.
“What we don’t know about this variant is whether it is truly more infectious than these other variants of concern that we currently have in the province,” Hinshaw said.
The Central zone has 1,994 active cases, with 56 people in hospital and five in intensive care.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 135 active cases of the virus as of Tuesday, Lacombe County has 80 active and Clearwater County sits at 31 active.
Lacombe has 102 active and Sylvan Lake has 58 active cases, while Olds sits at 81 active. Mountain View County sits at 85 active, Kneehill County has 39 active and Drumheller has 19 active.
Camrose County sits at 82 active cases and the County of Stettler has 20.
Camrose is at 141 active cases and Wetaskiwin has 134 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 233 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 110 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has 18 active.
About 25 per cent, or 612 schools across the province are on alert or have outbreaks, with 3,502 cases in total. Three-hundred-and-eighty of those schools are on alert, with 784 total cases and outbreaks are declared in 232 schools, with a total of 2,718 cases.
In-school transmission has likely occurred in 504 schools. Of these, 211 have had one new case occur as a result.
Alberta has now administered more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and there are 252,422 Albertans fully vaccinated with two doses.