Red Deer dropped below 600 active COVID-19 cases Thursday for the first time in May.
The city reported 548 active cases of the virus, down 57 from Wednesday’s 605. Thursday’s active case number is down nearly 250 cases from Friday last week. Red Deer has 4,811 recovered cases of 5,398 total cases.
Across the province, there were 812 new cases of the virus, based on 9,038 tests for a test positivity rate of about nine per cent. The province has 17,675 active cases of the virus, with 665 people in hospital including 177 in the intensive care unit.
“We are heading into the first long weekend of spring and I know many people are excited to get out and enjoy it, especially after a cold and rainy week,” Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“However, our active case numbers and hospitalizations remain very high. We are gaining momentum but it is fragile and we cannot afford to take this weekend off from following the rules. That’s why I’m asking every Albertan to have fun and stay safe this weekend.
“Follow the rules, avoid in-person interactions with people outside your household, especially indoors. Avoid non-essential travel wherever possible.”
Hinshaw also announced a change to the COVID-19 quarantine period for close contacts of positive cases.
Currently, Albertans are legally required to quarantine for 14 days if they are a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
Starting Thursday, fully vaccinated individuals who had their second dose at least two weeks prior will no longer have to quarantine at all, if they are exposed to a positive case, as long as they are not exhibiting any symptoms.
Those who have received only one dose of a vaccine, will have a shortened quarantine period of 10 days for the close contact of a positive case.
One-dose individuals who get a negative COVID-19 test after day 7, they can end their quarantine.
The change does not apply to those returning from international travel.
“This new quarantine approach within the province will result in less disruption for families, workplaces and schools, while still preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Hinshaw said.
The Central zone is down to 1,814 cases of COVID-19, with 66 people in hospital including 15 in ICU.
When looking at the province’s geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 149 active cases of the virus, Lacombe County has 121 active and Clearwater County sits at 82 active.
Lacombe and Sylvan Lake each have 98 active cases, while Olds sits at 45 active. Mountain View County sits at 53 active, Kneehill County has 26 active and Drumheller has 17 active.
Camrose County sits at 14 active cases and the County of Stettler has 53.
Camrose is at 63 active cases and Wetaskiwin has 51 active.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis has 101 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 48 active cases. Rimbey, including parts of Lacombe County has 40 active.