Heading into the weekend, cases of COVID-19 saw a slight increase in Alberta.
Over the last 24 hours, 356 new cases were reported on 8,701 tests for a positivity rate of around 4.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, active infections of the virus rose by 48 cases to 5,017.
+48 active cases*
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) November 26, 2021
While case numbers rose, severe outcomes of the virus stayed on the decline.
There are now 455 people in hospital with COVID, a decrease of 10 patients from Thursday. Of those in hospital, 90 are in the ICU, which is a decrease of eight patients from the day prior.
Alberta Health also reporting three more people have died with COVID-19 in the province.
As for vaccinations in Alberta, more than 6.83 million doses have been administered to date in the province.
Of the eligible population, 88.6 per cent have at least one dose, while 83.6 per cent are fully immunized.
Hinshaw addresses new COVID variant
There has been some concern and questions raised around a new variant of COVID-19 that was detected in South Africa.
A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant, the world’s most prevalent. The panel said early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, addressed the concerns on Friday in a Twitter thread.
“At this time, there have been no cases of this variant detected in Canada. I want to reassure Albertans that our genetic sequencing program here in Alberta can detect mutations of the virus, including this new strain (B.1.1.529),” she said on Twitter.
This is a reminder of how important getting the vaccine is, as having a complete vaccination series has historically provided a high level of protection against severe outcomes even with new variants of concern. (3/4)
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) November 26, 2021
She adds the province continues to work with the federal government and partners across the globe to monitor the emerging variants and make the adjustments that are necessary.
The federal government introduced travel restrictions on Friday to help combat the new variant of concern.
The new measures put forth by federal officials are in effect immediately and will ban the entry of foreign nationals who have visited seven southern African nations in the last two weeks.
“We are acting quickly in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” said Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos.
The countries affected by the new ban include South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Eswatini. Anyone who has recently travelled to any of the nations is being asked to immediately self-isolate and get a COVID-19 test.
– With files from Michael Ranger and the Associated Press