Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave an in-person report on COVID-19 in the province for the first time in five days today (December 28).

Hinshaw thanked everyone who had followed public health restrictions during the holidays then revealed another 4,488 new cases of the virus had been revealed in the past five days while another 112 Albertans had passed away from the virus.  That figure helped the province pass a grim total of 1,000 Albertans who have died from COVID-19.  The total number is now 1,002.

"The death rate in Quebec is 95 per 100,000.  Ontario's is 30 per 100,000, Manitoba's is 47, B.C.s 16, and Alberta's is 20 per 100,000.  Each of these numbers represents people whose loss leaves a hole behind in their families, communities, and groups of friends," said Hinshaw.

Today, Canada surpassed 15,000 COVID-19 related deaths.  

The new daily cases on December 23rd were 1,007 out of a total of 15,585 tests.  On December 24th there were 1,191 new cases among 17.845 tests.  The total new cases on Christmas Day were 914 found among 14,193 tests.  459 new cases came from 6,866 tests on Boxing Day and yesterday 917 new cases came from 9,633 tests.

The provincial positivity rate has fluctuated between 6.4 and 9.6 percent and active cases in Alberta have fallen to 15,487.  

Hinshaw lamented that hospitalizations and ICU patients in the province remain high at 878 and 148 respectively.

She also reported the first Alberta case of the COVID-19 variant that was first discovered in Britain.  "In Alberta, we have now identified a single case of COVID-19 caused by this variant in someone who had recently arrived from the U.K.  The good news is that this individual did everything that they were supposed to do, following quarantine and other public health measures and at this point, there is no evidence that there has been any further spread."

Scientists believe the variant is as much as 70 percent more contagious than other strains of COVID-19 but no more deadly.  This is believed to be the fifth case of the variant found in Canada with the others in B.C. and Ontario.

Locally, Cochrane is sitting at 53 active cases. Rocky View County is reporting 102 active cases and added two more deaths for a total of three.