Dr. Hinshaw provided the COVID-19 update for Tuesday, February 16.
- There were 50 variant cases reported over a four-day period from Monday to Friday. Friday saw 15 cases, Saturday 18 cases, Sunday 10 cases, and Monday 7 cases. There are now a total of 221 variant cases in the province with 214 of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) and seven of the B.1.351 (South African variant).
- There were 263 new cases reported in the past 24 hours after approximately 5,200 tests were performed for a positivity rate of 5%.
- There are 365 people in the hospital and 56 in ICU.
- There were nine deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
- There are currently active alerts in 264 schools or about 11% in the province.
- To date, over 149,000 people have been vaccinated with over 54,000 fully vaccinated with two doses.
- Cochrane is holding at eight active cases while Rocky View County has 33 active cases.
- Nakoda Emergency Management is reporting no new cases, no recoveries, and 25 active cases.
Dr. Hinshaw spoke to the increase in positivity rate and said it is concerning but also said, "It is possible this increase is because of changes in who went for testing over the long weekend, so we will be watching closely in the days to come to see if this is an isolated finding or a concerning trend."
Hinshaw also recognized the number of variant cases and said, "This is an average of 12 new variant cases per day. I know that many Albertans are concerned about these variants, and I am too. I am particularly concerned about the growing number of cases not linked to travel, though many of these cases are the results of close contacts who we have identified through robust contact tracing."
Dr. Hinshaw explained the easement of restrictions in Alberta thus far, "It has now been one week since we eased step one restrictions as part of our path forward. As you know, due to the lengthy incubation period of this virus it can take up to two weeks to begin to see the impact of any changes to restrictions. It’s too soon, therefore, to say what effect they are having in the province.