Alberta identified 263 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
The chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said about 5,200 tests were completed, putting the positivity rate at about five per cent.
“This is an increase from where we have been in the past few weeks, which is concerning,” she said.
It’s possible the change is related to who went for testing over the long weekend, she added.
“So we will be watching closely in the days to come to see if this is an isolated finding or a concerning trend.”
It has been a week since the province reduced some of its health restrictions. But since it can take two weeks for the virus to show up it’s too soon to say what effect those changes had.
However, it is positive that hospitalizations have continued to decline since the mid-December peak, she said.
Hinshaw addressed why the province has not reduced the restrictions on indoor social gatherings. It is in those settings where the highest rates of transmission occur, she said, adding spikes have followed past holidays.
There are 365 Albertans in hospital with 56 in ICU. Nine more people have died – none of them in Central zone – bringing the total to 1,791 deaths.
The province has now administered more than 149,000 doses of the vaccine and more than 54,000 Albertans are fully immunized.
There are active alerts or outbreaks in 264 schools — about 11 per cent of the province’s schools. Since Jan. 11, the schools have had 861 cases.
Fifteen new variant cases were identified on Friday, 18 on Saturday, 10 on Sunday and seven on Monday.
Hinshaw said the average of 12 variant cases a day is a concern.
“I am particularly concerned about the growing number of variant cases not linked to travel although many of these cases are the result of close contacts who we have identified through robust contact tracing.”
Red Deer is up to 420 active cases of COVID-19.
Central zone has 679 active cases and 8,811 recovered cases.
On the government’s website using the municipality setting to sort COVID-19 cases, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas, and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting Red Deer County sits at 35 active cases of the virus, while Lacombe County has nine active cases.
Lacombe has 35 active cases, Sylvan Lake sits at 14 active cases, Olds has two active and Drumheller has 12 active.
Mountain View County sits at nine active, Kneehill County has four active and Clearwater County 16 active.
Camrose County has six and the County of Stettler has five active cases.
Camrose sits at 14 active and the City of Wetaskiwin has 20 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 53 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has nine active. Rimbey, which includes west Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County, has no active cases.