EDMONTON -- Alberta on Thursday reported 764 new cases of COVID-19, including 191 infections of the variants of concern.

This case count is the highest since Jan. 15, and Thursday marked the ninth straight day the province reported more than 450 coronavirus cases.

Twenty-one per cent of the 6,835 infections are linked to the variants of concern, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw said Wednesday Alberta could look to bring in more restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of variant cases. When asked Thursday what health and goverment officials would watch for to implement stricter rules, Hinshaw cited multiple indicators.

"We need to be looking at our new case numbers...our positivity rate and our R-value or that growth rate of new cases," she said. "Obviously variants are also an additional metric to watch but there's no single metric that will tell us when we need to implement something or not. We need to be looking at that overall picture and a combination of all of those factors before we're able to make good decisions about what kinds of things may be necessary."

Hospitals are caring for 294 patients with COVID-19, including 55 Albertans in ICU.

Dr. Hinshaw also reported three deaths.

Alberta Health Services carried out just over 14,000 tests on Wednesday, resulting in a positivity rate of 5.4 per cent.

The province has administered more than 532,000 vaccine doses.

Alberta has reported 144,311 cases and 1,976 deaths since last March.