Tuesday was Alberta’s deadliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic for Alberta.
The province announced 38 deaths due to the virus over the past 24 hours, most of which took place in Calgary and Edmonton. It was the highest number of deaths reported in one day, since there were 30 reported on Dec. 17.
There have been 1,345 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Five of the new deaths announced Tuesday are in the Central zone. The most recent death in the zone was Jan. 11, a male in his 80s, linked to an outbreak at Seasons Camrose.
A male in his 50s and a female in her 90s died on Jan. 9. Two males in their 80s also died in the zone, one on Jan. 8 and the other on Jan. 10.
Two of the deaths were in Red Deer, two were in Camrose and one was in Sylvan Lake.
“These figures are not just numbers, they are lives. They involve somebody who was loved. My thoughts go out to everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, from any cause,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw said she hopes 2021 will be less deadly than 2020, mostly because of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It is critical that until we are able to offer that vaccine to everyone at that high risk, we continue to work together to protect them,” she said.
The province announced an additional 652 cases of COVID-19, with 9,300 tests completed over the past 24 hours with provincial positivity rate of 6.8 per cent.
As of Tuesday, there are 819 people in hospital, with 132 in the ICU.
Central zone has 1,394 active cases of the virus, with 84 people in hospital, including 16 in the ICU. There have been 62 deaths in the zone since the start of the pandemic.
Red Deer has 225 active cases of the virus and 12 deaths total. Red Deer County sits at 49 active cases and Lacombe County has 30 active. Lacombe has 34 active cases of COVID-19, Sylvan Lake has 31 active and Olds has 29 active.
Mountain View County sits at 22 active, Clearwater County has 12 active and Clearwater County has 73 active.
Camrose has 57 active cases and Camrose County sits at 15 active.
Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin and Wetaskiwin have 623 active cases of the virus.
Hinshaw added that while testing numbers have been low over the last few weeks, contact tracing has increased and only about 47 per cent of COVID-19 cases are coming from an unknown source. She said that number was as high as 80 per cent from Dec. 10-15.
She added that the province is continuing to prioritize high-priority cases of COVID-19 with its contact tracing and hopes in the near future, to be able to identify most cases within 24 hours.
“It is important to note that investigations into recent cases are still underway and identifying a source of exposure is complex,” she said.