EDMONTON -- Alberta reported 1,081 COVID-19 cases and a positivity rate of 8.9 per cent on Tuesday.

Variants account for 52.4 per cent of the 15,087 active cases in the province after Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 705 B.1.1.7 infections.

There are 402 Albertans with COVID-19 in hospital, with 88 of them in intensive care units.

"Hospitalizations are increasing provincewide and cases continue to rise sharply," Hinshaw told reporters. "My team is monitoring closely, and if we do not see growth slowing soon, further measures may be required."

Hinshaw reminded the second wave's highest level of daily cases in the first week of December was followed by a peak in hospitalizations three to four weeks later.

"So we need to make sure that we don't wait too long. We cannot wait," Hinshaw said. "We have to make sure that we're watching within the coming week to 10 days about what those cases look like, and consider if our trajectory continues on a steep upward climb, whether those additional measures will be needed.

"Whether or not there could be something within the next week really depends on the situation and how quickly things accelerate."


Hinshaw compared current COVID-19 transmission to a flood and the growing number of immunizations as the barrier to stop it.

"Vaccines are building a barrier against this flood to protect our communities from becoming overwhelmed. But until everyone has had a chance to receive vaccine, we cannot dismantle the existing barrier of our collective action to prevent spread," she said.

As of Monday, Alberta had administered just over 970,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

"This vaccine works, even against variants," Hinshaw said. "Vaccines are our best defence."