EDMONTON -- Hospitalizations and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 continue to steadily rise in Alberta, close to the levels they were at back in December 2020.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health reported the increase on Twitter in a limited COVID-19 update Sunday.

The province reported 1,437 new cases of COVID-19 after completing approximately 17,000 tests, bringing the positivity rate to 8.6 per cent.

Currently 594 Albertans are in hospital with COVID-19 and 140 in ICU.

Hospitalizations started to steadily increase Friday. There were 518 on Thursday. Friday saw them increase by 31 to 549. On Saturday, 584 people were in hospital, including 129 in ICU.

At the peak of the second wave of the pandemic in Alberta, there were 152 people in ICU on Dec. 22.

It has now been 20 days in a row that Alberta has reported new cases of COVID-19 over 1,000.

According to the federal government, Alberta leads Canada in terms of the rate of active cases of COVID-19 per population. As of Saturday, the rate of active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta was 446 per 100,000 population. Ontario’s rate was 281 per 100,000 population while Saskatchewan’s was 217 and British Columbia’s was 176.

Of the cases reported Sunday, 932 were variants of concern.

Sunday marks the first time Alberta broke over 20,000 total active cases since the second wave, with 20,136 reported. On Dec. 14, Alberta had 21,123 total active cases of COVID-19 reported.

The provincial government committee responsible for determining public health restrictions is scheduled to meet on Monday. 

Approximately 1.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in Alberta as of Saturday.

Over 159,000 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.