SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories

Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

Alberta hit another new record Thursday, confirming an additional 1,854 cases of COVID-19.

Following the government’s announcement about a possible COVID-19 vaccine arriving in the early days of 2021, the province now has 17,743 cases of the virus.

In addition, 511 people are in hospital, including 97 in the ICU. The province also announced 14 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 575 in Alberta.

There were also 19,622 tests completed over the past 24 hours and the province’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is 9.5 per cent, also a new record for Alberta.

Since Nov. 22, Red Deer has more than doubled its active case total and is up to 289 active cases of the virus. Red Deer County has 74 active.

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Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed areas outside of Calgary and Edmonton in her daily press conference Thursday and said there is a growing concern for infection rates in those regions. The Central zone has 1,251 active cases, with 37 people in hospital, including five in the ICU.

“I know many rural areas did not see widespread transmission in the spring or summer, it’s natural that people living in those areas may feel safe from covid, due to smaller populations or distance from large urban centres,” she said.

“They may wonder why they should wear a mask or not host a party in their home. Unfortunately, our overall active case rates prove COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live or what your postal code is. It only takes one case entering a community to cause significant spread.”

Drumheller has 36 active cases, Sylvan Lake sits at 70 active and Olds has 24 active. Lacombe County has 46 active cases and Lacombe has 43. Camrose sits at 79 active and Camrose County has 31.

Mountain View County has 21 active and Kneehill County has 12 active. Ponoka County, Wetaskiwin County and the City of Wetaskiwin have 251 active cases combined.

The Edmonton zone still has the most active cases in the region, with 8,331. They have 269 people in hospital, with 61 in the ICU.

The Calgary zone has 6,445 active cases, as well as 162 in hosptial and 24 in the ICU.

There are outbreaks or alerts in 407 schools, about 17 per cent of schools in the province. These schools have a combined total of 1,561 active cases. That includes 220 schools with outbreaks and 100 on the watch list.

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