COVID-19 cases are starting to rise slowly in Alberta once again.
The province reported 81 new cases of the virus Wednesday, based on 6,479 tests, for a positivity rate of 1.2 per cent. Those new cases brought the province’s active total to 649, up 43 from Tuesday’s reporting.
The province also identified 61 new variant cases Wednesday, bringing the active number of variant cases to 362.
There were no new COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours. Ninety-five people are in hospital in Alberta with the virus, including 27 in the ICU.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that vaccines continue to be the greatest protection against COVID-19.
She noted that 96 per cent of confirmed cases since Jan. 1 were among those who were either unvaccinated or diagnosed within two weeks of receiving their first dose while immunity was building.
Hinshaw added that vaccines have also been effective at preventing severe outcomes, with 91 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Alberta and 95 per cent of hospital and ICU admissions were in those who did not have two doses of vaccine.
“This latest information is encouraging and underscores again the importance of getting fully vaccinated as soon as you can,” she tweeted.
Alberta has administered 5.1 million doses of the vaccine, with 74.9 per cent of the population over the age of 12 receiving at least one dose. So far, 60.7 per cent of Albertans over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.
The Central zone dropped to 46 active cases of the virus, with seven people in hospital and none in the ICU.
According to the province’s geospatial mapping, Red Deer has 14 active cases. The city has 5,734 recovered cases and 43 deaths from COVID-19.
Red Deer County, Ponoka County and Mountain View County both have four active cases of COVID-19. Lacombe, Lacombe County Wetaskiwin and Olds all have two active cases, while Drumheller has three and Camrose has one.
Kneehill County, Clearwater County, County of Stettler, Camrose County and Sylvan Lake have no active cases.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has five active cases. Rimbey, including West Ponok County and parts of Lacombe County has one active case, while Ponoka, including east Ponoka County has no active cases.