Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

The Alberta government reported a record daily high of 622 additional COVID-19 cases Friday.

According to the government’s website, there are now 5,172 active cases of the virus in the province, with 140 cases in hospital and 25 in the ICU.

Overall, Alberta has had 27,664 confirmed cases and 22,169 recovered cases. There were also five additional deaths Friday, bringing the toll to 323.

The central zone jumped from 162 active cases to 178 active.

Red Deer added eight cases and now sits at 46 active cases of the virus.

In Red Deer County, there are eight active cases, while Lacombe County has five active cases. Lacombe has two active cases and both Olds and Sylvan Lake have one active case.

The City of Wetaskiwin is up to 12 active cases.

Collectively, the County of Wetaskiwin and Ponoka County have 47 active cases. The City of Camrose has eight active cases and Camrose County has four.

Kneehill County has nine active cases and Clearwater County sits at six active cases.

The Edmonton zone remains the hardest-hit area in the province, with 2,312 active cases, and the Calgary zone has 2,034 active cases.

In an effort to speed up the turnaround time for tests, as the number of cases climbs, the government announced last week it would end asymptomatic testing, and so far, it is having the desired effect.

Friday, the government’s website showed 12,938 COVID-19 tests had been completed in the past 24 hours.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that in the past, the province would see anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 asymptomatic tests per day.

When it made a change to the testing criteria on Oct. 20, the number of tests dipped. Over the past 10 days, it has also seen the turnaround time for test results improve.

“As the number of (asymptomatic) tests has reduced, we have seen our overall volume reduce. We are seeing the number of people who have symptoms – it was going up substantially, it did come down slightly, but now it’s going up again,” Hinshaw said.

“Really, this illustrates the reason we changed our eligibility criteria. So we could improve our turnaround times, and over the past 1o days, we have seen an improvement in how fast people have been able to get their test results.

“So, that change is absolutely having the desired impact and we are making sure testing is easily available for anyone who needs it.”

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that the province may consider a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions if numbers continue to decline. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Province further easing health restrictions

Numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care has dropped dramatically, says premier

Government of Alberta COVID-19 Aggregate Data Map. Screen Grab/ https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#geospatial
City of Wetaskiwin under 10 active cases; single active case in County

Active COVID-19 cases in the City and County of Wetaskiwin continue to drop.

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside Red Deer courthouse for slain Ponoka man

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Time to check the mail: Every household to receive a Canada Post postcard this spring

Postcard can be mailed for free to any address in Canada

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Most Read