Variants represent 11% of Alberta's active cases; 21 active cases in Fort McMurray

·2 min read

Active mutations of COVID-19 cases account for 11 per cent of all active cases in Alberta, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw in her Tuesday update.

With 62 new variant cases bringing Alberta's total active variant cases to 509 in province during the last 24 hours, Hinshaw said there is “race” between the spread of variant cases and the COVID-19 vaccines.

“The toll variants have taken on the UK, Italy and other countries are a cautionary tale that we must continue to take very seriously,” said Hinshaw. “Our aggressive screening, dedicated contact tracing and other measures have been buying time for the vaccines to work.”

Alberta Health Services (AHS) identified an individual at St. Anne School in Fort McMurray as having a COVID-19 variant of concern on Monday. The case was announced on March 12 and later identified as a variant case. The school is remaining open and following recommendation of AHS, Alberta Education and Alberta Health.

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against the B117 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, which Hinshaw said is the most common COVID-19 variant case in Alberta. The Moderna vaccine functions similar to the Pfizer vaccine and just as effective.

“This is yet another reason why getting immunized against COVID-19 is so important,” said Hinshaw. “It will protect you, those close to you and your entire community.”

AHS is booking three more birth cohorts online starting tomorrow at 8 a.m. This expansion includes Albertans born in 1949, 1950 and 1951 or earlier. It also includes First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples born in 1964, 1965 and 1966 or earlier.

AHS is working on increasing capacity of the online booking system and is confident expanding the three birth cohorts is manageable.

“Widespread vaccination will be fundamental to helping us all get back to a sense of normalcy closer to what life was like before COVID-19,” said Hinshaw. “I know that’s something we’d all like to see happen as soon as possible.”

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today