Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

The Alberta government reported a record daily high of 622 additional COVID-19 cases Friday.

According to the government’s website, there are now 5,172 active cases of the virus in the province, with 140 cases in hospital and 25 in the ICU.

Overall, Alberta has had 27,664 confirmed cases and 22,169 recovered cases. There were also five additional deaths Friday, bringing the toll to 323.

The central zone jumped from 162 active cases to 178 active.

Red Deer added eight cases and now sits at 46 active cases of the virus.

In Red Deer County, there are eight active cases, while Lacombe County has five active cases. Lacombe has two active cases and both Olds and Sylvan Lake have one active case.

The City of Wetaskiwin is up to 12 active cases.

Collectively, the County of Wetaskiwin and Ponoka County have 47 active cases. The City of Camrose has eight active cases and Camrose County has four.

Kneehill County has nine active cases and Clearwater County sits at six active cases.

The Edmonton zone remains the hardest-hit area in the province, with 2,312 active cases, and the Calgary zone has 2,034 active cases.

In an effort to speed up the turnaround time for tests, as the number of cases climbs, the government announced last week it would end asymptomatic testing, and so far, it is having the desired effect.

Friday, the government’s website showed 12,938 COVID-19 tests had been completed in the past 24 hours.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that in the past, the province would see anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 asymptomatic tests per day.

When it made a change to the testing criteria on Oct. 20, the number of tests dipped. Over the past 10 days, it has also seen the turnaround time for test results improve.

“As the number of (asymptomatic) tests has reduced, we have seen our overall volume reduce. We are seeing the number of people who have symptoms – it was going up substantially, it did come down slightly, but now it’s going up again,” Hinshaw said.

“Really, this illustrates the reason we changed our eligibility criteria. So we could improve our turnaround times, and over the past 1o days, we have seen an improvement in how fast people have been able to get their test results.

“So, that change is absolutely having the desired impact and we are making sure testing is easily available for anyone who needs it.”

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

(Black Press file photo)
Blackfalds continuing its fight for a registries office

The Town of Blackfalds has been fighting for a Registry Service outlet for roughly a decade

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that the province may consider a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions if numbers continue to decline. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Province further easing health restrictions

Numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care has dropped dramatically, says premier

Eric Rajah, co-founder of A Better World. (Photo Submitted)
Two Lacombe residents recieve award from Governor General for chairty work

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt co-founded A Better World, a charity which started in Lacombe in 1990

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside courthouse for man slain in Lacombe

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4 in Red Deer

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. Photo contributed
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. (Pixabay)
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Muslim women fearful following attacks in Edmonton

So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime-related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks during a news conference in Calgary on May 29, 2020. Shandro says Alberta is considering whether to extend the time between COVID-19 vaccine shots to four months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta may follow B.C.’s lead on faster rollout of first COVID-19 dose

Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming

A locally-produced video project aims to preserve Canada’s railway history

‘Railways have been an integral part of Canadian history since 1836’

Ryan Jake Applegarth of Ponoka, 28, is scheduled to appear at Ponoka Provincial Court on March 12, 2021. (File photo)
Discussions about justice continue as Ponoka murder victim’s case proceeds

Reaction to comments Ponoka Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley made to town council last month

Dr. Stanley Read
Hometown Bashaw doctor recognized with alumni award for AIDS work

Dr. Stanley Read, born and raised in Bashaw, is considered a global health leader

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

Most Read