Alberta reports 950 cases of COVID-19, breaks variant of concern reporting records on Sunday

Another 950 cases of COVID-19 have been reported Sunday in Alberta after completing 11,200 tests.

The latest COVID-19 numbers were provided in a limited update given on Twitter by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, on Sunday.

Variant cases continue to rise in Alberta as 600 additional estimated variants of concern were reported. That translates to 38 per cent of all active COVID-19 cases in the province being a variant of concern.

Saturday saw 550 cases of variants of concern reported while Friday had 300.

Hinshaw said hospitalizations remain stable but provided no further specifics as to how many were in hospital or in ICU.

There were also no details provided regarding if any deaths from COVID-19 had occurred.

Alberta’s positivity rate is at eight per cent.

Over the past three days of the Easter long weekend, Alberta reported 3,150 additional cases of COVID-19 with 44 per cent being variant of concern cases.

To date, 693,000 doses of COVID-19 immunizations have been administered with 8,000 of those taking place Saturday.

A full update will be presented Monday, including details surrounding a “significant” COVID-19 variant of concern that Hinshaw announced Alberta Health Services was investigating.

As of Thursday, 138,560 people in Alberta had recovered from COVID-19.

'Something has to change': Experts

Experts are calling for additional travel restrictions between the provinces as variant case numbers climb in Alberta and B.C.

“The P.1. variant transmits two to two-point-five times faster than the original one,” said Gosia Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist with the University of Calgary. “So really border control between the provinces would help a lot.”

The Atlantic provinces and Manitoba have restricted interprovincial travel, but some say doing it in Alberta will be harder.

“We know that’s a fairly pourous border, especially with people travelling for holiday-type destinations,” said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Alberta.

“Clearly we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing and expect things to change and so, as a starting point, yes something has to change.”

Saxinger is calling for more restrictions inside the province, saying the current situation is “a tipping point.”

“I actually expect that public health is putting together, hopefully, a data based restriction package for, hopefully, a quick decision.

“I would like to see something happen over the early part of next week.”