Red Deer broke a new COVID-19 caseload record on Monday with 565 cases, up 23 over the weekend and 137 over the past week.
The city jumped from 564 on Saturday to 565 active cases as of the end of Sunday.
Alberta Health has been notified of 455 cases linked to the outbreak at Olymel. Of these, 198 are active, 256 recovered and there has been one death.
Red Deer now has about 74 per cent of Central zone’s active cases and 12 per cent of province’s active cases.
Overall, Alberta has 4,675 active cases of the virus, with 124,818 recovered cases. There were 16 additional deaths — including a man in his 90s in Central zone — reported Monday and to date, the province has recorded 1,843 deaths.
The province completed more than 6,100 COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, leading to a test positivity rate of 4.5 per cent.
There are 324 people in hospital in Alberta, with 53 of those in the ICU.
Central zone sits at 760 active cases of the virus with 35 in hospital and nine in intensive care.
Across the province, there were 273 additional COVID-19 cases Monday.
Through the end of the day Sunday, the province had administered more than 173,539 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 69,000 Albertans had been fully vaccinated.
No decisions on moving to Step 2 will happen before the beginning of March, said the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw Monday.
“We’ll see how our numbers are trending over the next several days to the end of this week.
“So, businesses should be planning for a reopening as early as the following week.”
Hinshaw said that this is her 174th COVID update and the province is heading in the right direction.
Two out of three deaths have occurred in supportive living or long-term care facilities where some key progress has been made.
“Over the last few months, we have seen a sharp decline in our long-term care cases.”
On Dec. 22, those facilities had 722 active cases, a number that has been reduced to 63 by Feb. 20 — a 92 per cent drop.
About 90 per cent of residents and those who make decisions for them are choosing to be vaccinated in those facilities. How many are not is still being monitored, Hinshaw said.
She said those results are from immunization and Albertans’ efforts to not spread the virus.
The number of outbreaks in hospitals has gone down from 27 on Jan. 2 to eight now.
The number of active cases among school-age children has gone down since classes resumed. On Jan. 11, there were more than 2,000 active cases and six weeks later the number is 747.
Deaths have also sharply declined, from an average of 167 a week at the end of December to 23 over the past week.
Hinshaw said the province has been seeing around 11 to 16 variants appear each day over the last few weeks.
So far, it seems the numbers are “relatively stable” at a low level, she said. Variants have appeared so far in Edmonton, Calgary and Central zones.
Hinshaw was asked if the current trend would be enough progress to lift restrictions if it continues. She said it is important that the trend towards lower case numbers continues before further easing of restrictions can be considered.
On the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas, and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions (i.e. villages, and reserves) are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 38 active cases, Lacombe County has 12 active and Clearwater County sits at six active.
Sylvan Lake has 18 active, Olds has two active and Drumheller is at eight active.
Camrose County has three active, County of Stettler has four active, and Starland County is at one active.
Camrose sits at 10 active cases and Wetaskiwin has 15 active.
On the local geographic setting, Wetaskiwin County including Maskwacis has 27 active cases of the virus. Ponoka County, including East Ponoka County has 17 active cases.
Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County has no active cases.