Active cases in St. Albert have dropped to levels not seen since October, with just five new cases being diagnosed over the weekend and no new cases reported Monday.
On Monday, the province released new COVID-19 data showing the city currently has 74 active cases of COVID-19, down from 89 on Friday. The city added five new cases between Friday and Monday, while 21 more people recovered.
St. Albert's active case count has not been this low since Oct. 20.
The province reclassified four deaths that had previously been reported, including one in St. Albert, because post-mortems showed they were not caused by COVID-19. This puts the number of St. Albertans who have died from the virus at 36.
Sturgeon County saw one more recovery over the weekend and no new cases being diagnosed, bringing their active cases down by one to 28.
In Morinville, another case was added over the weekend with no new recoveries, bringing the active cases up by one to 28.
Across Alberta, there were 269 cases diagnosed over the past 24 hours, with 6,184 tests run with a positivity rate of 4.3 per cent.
Currently, there are 432 people in the hospital with COVID-19, including 76 in intensive care.
In the last 24 hours, five more deaths were reported to Alberta Health.
There are 6,196 active cases in the province.
Currently, 313 schools, about 13 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 844 cases in total. Some 273 schools are on alert, with 511 total cases. Outbreaks are declared in 40 schools, with a total of 333 cases.
There are currently 386 active and 8,646 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
To date, 1,116 of the 1,710 reported deaths (65 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.
On Monday, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced there were another 25 variant cases of COVID-19 found in the province over the weekend. The total amount of variant cases in the province sits at 96, with 46 of those cases not being linked to travel.
Hinshaw noted there has not been variant spread in schools.
Hinshaw said the province is testing every positive COVID-19 case for the variant.
“On days like today, our capacity to screen for variants exceeds the number of new cases of COVID-19 that have been identified,” Hinshaw said.
The variant strain is known to spread more easily, and other jurisdictions have predicted it may become the dominant strain in their regions.
But Hinshaw said it is not inevitable that it would become the dominant strain in Alberta.
“It really depends on all of us and continuing to work together to prevent the spread.”
As hospitalizations continue to decline, Alberta began the first step of its reopening plan on Monday.
“It remains important that we all keep being careful and keep making safe choices,”Hinshaw said.
“It’s not just the hospitalization number that matters. It’s also our trends of positive cases, positivity. And it’s really important that we collectively continue to keep our positive cases trending downward.”
Hinshaw said cases and hospitalizations are continuing to trend down, but the province will continue to leave three weeks between advancing each stage of the reopening.
“We deliberately built in a minimum of three weeks between steps to allow us to monitor our hospitalizations, as well as our positivity rate, new case numbers and overall growth rate, to ensure that we are not seeing a rise in transmission linked to activities that have been opened,” Hinshaw said.
The earliest Stage 2 could start in Alberta would be March 1.
Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette