COVID-19 in Alberta: Hinshaw tackles worrying new variant as province adds 356 new cases

Edmonton –

Three other Albertans have died from COVID-19 as the province added 356 new cases on Friday.

There are also 455 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Alberta, including 90 in intensive care units.

The three people who died in the Albertans ranged in age from 60 to more than 80 years old. They bring the death toll from COVID-19 to 3,235.

Also on Friday, the first doses of the vaccine were given to young Albertans between the ages of 5 and 11. That age group has a population of just over 391,000, according to Alberta Health.

More than three-quarters of all Albertans, 75.4%, have had at least their first dose of the vaccine. And, 71.1% of the entire population had a second shot. More than 361.00 additional doses were also taken.

Unvaccinated Albertans are still more likely to suffer a more serious outcome after contracting COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Alberta’s next data update is scheduled for Monday afternoon and will include data from Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Canada will ban entry to all foreign nationals who have traveled through southern Africa in the past 14 days as fears of a new coronavirus variant grow.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said anyone who has traveled through southern Africa in the past 14 days will be asked to quarantine now and get tested for COVID-19 .

Countries include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

This news comes shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern and named it “Omicron”.

The variant is believed to have originated in South Africa.

According to WHO, this variant was first reported from South Africa on 24 November.

“Early evidence suggests increased number of mutations and increased transmissibility,” Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr Deena Hinshaw tweeted Friday.

“At this time, no cases of this variant have been detected in Canada. I would like to reassure Albertans that our gene sequencing program in Alberta can detect mutations in the virus, including including this new strain (B.1.1.529),” added Hinshaw.

With files from the Associated Press

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