Provincial COVID-19 positivity rate jumped on Tuesday

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There have been 221 cases of variants reported in Alberta, with 214 of those identified as the B.1.1.7 variant and seven of those identified as the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa.

Nakoda Emergency Management is reporting no new cases, no recoveries, and 25 active cases.

"There's absolutely no question the advances that we've seen and the drops in the numbers of COVID (-19) cases is directly related to what Albertans have done and what they have sacrificed to get these numbers under control".

Alberta's top doctor says there's been a worrisome rise in COVID-19 patients refusing to cooperate with contact tracers in the last two months.

Public health experts in that province say reopening will be delayed if 10 per cent of new cases are of variant strains.

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"Trying to ignore COVID-19 and not participating in contact tracing only pushes back the day we can ease restrictions further", Hinshaw said.

Right now it is good news that hospitalizations have continued to decline, as has the reproductive rate (R-value) of the virus, which currently sits at 0.85.

Overall, half the variant cases diagnosed in the province were linked to travel or the close contact of a traveller.

The province is offering COVID-19 testing twice to those exposed to the variant case to help prevent community spread.

"Evidence shows that it is in these social get-togethers where we see the highest rates of transmission", Hinshaw said. There were 365 people in hospital, including 56 in intensive care.

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