Dr. Hinshaw to provide COVID-19 update Thursday afternoon

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to provide another COVID-19 update for Albertans on Thursday afternoon.

The province’s chief medical officer of health is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Her news conference will be streamed live in this post.

On Wednesday, Hinshaw announced the province’s first community transmission cases of the P.1 variant, first detected in Brazil.

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Two cases of the variant were confirmed Tuesday to have been spread in the community.

There were 692 cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Wednesday, including 202 cases of variants of concern.

Hinshaw said Wednesday variant cases now make up 19 per cent of all active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, a jump from nine per cent of all active cases two weeks ago.

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During Wednesday’s update, Hinshaw announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19 and said there were 285 people in hospital, with 53 of those people receiving care in the ICU.

To date there has been 1,973 deaths related to COVID-19 in Alberta.

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On Wednesday, there were 6,534 active cases across the province. Hinshaw warned the variants could be the dominate strain in active cases within weeks.

“I have been concerned from the beginning, but certainly what we are seeing right now is that tipping point in some locations where the variant cases are becoming close to equal with wildtype and we could see in the future that they become the dominant strain,” she said.

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As of Wednesday, 135,040 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.

Hinshaw said 512,248 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to Albertans as of March 23.

She encouraged everyone eligible to be immunized. Currently, anyone born in 1956 or earlier or First Nations, Metis and Inuit people born in 1971 or earlier can book an appointment.

“If you already have an appointment for April, please call other pharmacies or Alberta Health Services to get the vaccine much sooner,” Hinshaw said.

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