Alberta reports lowest daily COVID-19 case count in 4 months
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
EDMONTON -- Alberta reported on Tuesday just 195 new cases of COVID-19 on and 12 more related deaths, including the ninth death of an Albertan under the age of 30.
The young adult was a woman who lived in the central medical zone. Officials said she had no known comorbidities.
The other victims ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s and lived in multiple regions.
A daily case count hasn't been lower than 195 since Oct. 7 when Alberta reported 143 new cases.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw noted cases in school-aged children also continue to trend down. Infections have been found in about 13 per cent of Alberta schools since in-person classes resumed Jan. 11, which have counted a total 866 cases in those four weeks. Before students returned to campus, cases amongst Albertans aged five to 19 numbered 131 per day on average. One week ago, Hinshaw said, they numbered 58 per day on average.
"When combined with the other evidence that we are seeing, this tells us that schools are still not a primary driver of COVID-19 transmission when appropriate measures are applied," the top doctor commented. "The measures in place to minimize spread in our schools are largely working, thanks to the efforts and attention of our teachers, staff, and students."
Six of Alberta's current school cases are COVID-19 variants which still have lead to no in-class transmission, Hinshaw said Tuesday. The cases are amongst five different and unnamed schools.
The total number of variant cases in Alberta rose by one to 104 on Tuesday with the confirmation of another instance of the B.1.1.7 strain.
Since Alberta detected its first case of a variant strain from a Dec. 15 positive result, variant cases have accounted for a quarter of one per cent of all of Alberta's COVID-19 cases.
"So far variants are still very rare and we are working hard to try to keep it that way. We have worked to expand our testing capacity, create dedicated variant contact tracing teams and move rapidly to isolate variant cases and prevent virus spread," Hinshaw told Albertans.
"Even more important are the public health measures and precautions each of us must keep following every day. These are the tried and true habits, we have created over the past year."
The province has a positivity rate of 3.2 per cent after labs conducted just over 7,000 tests the day before.
There are 427 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 78 Albertans who are in ICUs.