Alberta added 717 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more fatalities on Saturday.
Despite the lower new case numbers in the province — one month ago, the daily increase sat at over 1,200 — Saturday’s new cases outweighed new recoveries.
In Saturday’s update, the province had a total of 101,957 recoveries, just 178 more than Friday’s update.
Active case numbers now sit at 12,713. Taking deaths and recoveries into account, that is a net increase of 524.
An additional 7,451 people were vaccinated, bringing the total vaccinated to 81,561 as of Jan. 15.
A total of 1,417 Albertans have now died from COVID-19.
All but one of the 15 people who were added to the provincial fatality list were seniors, and the majority were in continuing care homes. Seven were in Edmonton zone, five in Calgary zone, two in Central zone and one in North zone.
In Edmonton zone, four women in their 90s connected to care centres with outbreaks — Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline, Rosedale Estates, Kiwanis Place Lodge and Jasper Place Continuing Care Centre — died. All four women were believed to have pre-existing conditions.
Also in Edmonton zone, a woman in her 70s at the outbreak at Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital died. A man in his 70s, who had comorbidities, linked to the outbreak at the Lynnwood – Capital Care centre also died.
A man in his 80s at the Chartwell Heritage Valley care centre passed away. Alberta Health said he was believed to have comorbidities.
In Calgary zone, three women and one man in their 90s, all with pre-existing conditions and connected to care centre outbreaks, died. The three women were linked to the Carewest George Boyack centre, McKenzie Town Retirement Residence and the Academy of Aging. The man was also linked to the Academy of Aging.
A man in his 70s, not connected to any outbreaks, also died in Calgary zone.
In Central zone, a man in his 70s not linked to any outbreaks died.
Also in Central zone, man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at the Drumheller Health Centre – Acute Care also died.
In North zone, a woman in her 50s, believed to have comorbidities, died.
On Monday, the province is set to ease its COVID-19 restrictions.
Barbershops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and other personal wellness services will be allowed to operate again starting Jan. 18, a change the government made just a week after announcing widespread health restrictions would be extended until late January.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will also be permitted as long as everyone is wearing masks and keeping at least two metres apart.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, reminded Albertans to continue taking precautions.
Provincial and regional trends will continue to be monitored and assessed over the coming weeks to determine if further easing of restrictions may be considered, the government said when it announced the easing on Thursday.
Indoor gatherings and in-person dining will remain restricted.