EDMONTON -- Alberta's top doctor reported 173 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths as a result of the disease on Thursday.

Confirmed active cases of the coronavirus increased once more to a total of 1,596, with more than half of them — 851 — in the Edmonton zone.

The two latest deaths were also reported in the Edmonton zone: A man in his 80s and a man in his 90s linked to Mill Woods' Shepherd's Care Centre outbreak.

There are 64 Albertans with COVID-19 in hospital, including 12 in intensive care.

The outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary has grown to 67 cases in 35 patients, 25 health care workers and three visitors.

There are 257 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 at 133 schools across Alberta. That includes 45 outbreaks, 11 watches, and 11 schools that have had in-school transmission.

More than 101,000 school-aged children have been tested for the coronavirus since school began, with a positivity rate of less than one per cent, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

Alberta has reported 18,235 cases and 269 deaths since March.


Hinshaw is calling on all Albertans to get their flu shot later this month to ease the strain on healthcare workers so they can focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta ordered 1.96 million doses of the influenza virus vaccine, a record for the province and more than 20 per cent compared to last year.

Vulnerable Albertans can get their flu shot no later than Oct. 13, while Albertans six months and older can get theirs by Oct. 19.

"I am strongly urging all Albertans, especially seniors and those who are high risk to get immunized with this program later this month," Hinshaw said. "Do it for yourself and do it for those around you. When immunized you protect not just your own health but the health of your loved ones, as well as more vulnerable seniors, young children and those with chronic health conditions."