Alberta recorded 2,007 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and seven additional deaths from the disease.
With about 18,955 tests completed, Alberta’s positivity rate was at 10.6 per cent Friday.
The active case count now stands at 21,828 across Alberta.
Alberta identified 989 variant cases of concern. Variants now make up 61.6 per cent of active cases of COVID-19 provincewide.
Hospitalizations also continue to increase, with 649 people in hospital with COVID-19 Friday. Of those, 152 are being treated in intensive care.
Of the seven deaths reported in the previous 24 hours, three were in the Calgary zone, two were in the North zone and two were in the Central zone.
A man in his 80s and woman in her 80s both died in the Calgary zone. Both cases included comorbidities. A man in his 50s with no known comorbidities also died in the Calgary zone.
A man in his 30s with no known comorbidities died in the North zone. A man in his 90s with comorbidities also died in the North zone.
Two men in their 80s with comorbidities died in the Central zone.
Alberta’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 2,082.
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Alberta has now administered 1,562,713 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Alberta Health announced Friday that the Genesis Centre vaccination clinic in Calgary will expand its hours during Ramadan.
From May 4-10, the northeast Calgary clinic will open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and about 700 additional evening appointments will be added to ensure Albertans who observe Ramadan can access appointments after sundown.
Friday also marked the first day of additional targeted COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta.
On Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney announced tighter restrictions for COVID-19 hot spots in Alberta.
The restrictions will apply to areas with more than 350 cases per 100,000 population and will be in place for a minimum of two weeks. Those areas include the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Airdrie and the county of Strathcona.
On Friday evening, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced St. Albert was added to the hot spot list after reaching the threshold for additional targeted restrictions. As of Friday, St. Albert’s active case rate per 100,000 population was 375. The region had 261 active cases.
Restrictions include at-home learning for students in grades 7-12, a ban on indoor fitness and sports and additional efforts to ensure restaurants verify that diners sitting together on outdoor patios are from the same household.
Curfews are also a possibility in some areas where the numbers are really high. Kenney said curfews could be imposed in municipalities where the virus case rate exceeds 1,000 per 100,000 people and if the local governments ask for one.
At least one critical care physician doesn’t think the restrictions go far enough.
“It’s clear that with this particular wave that the government wants to run this absolutely to the wire,” said Dr. Noel Gibney, the co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s Strategic COVID-19 Pandemic Committee.
“And I have to say that, in my view, it’s irresponsible — bordering on immoral — to continue with inadequate public restrictions, while at the same time realizing that, in three weeks, we may need to implement triage restrictions for admissions to ICU.
“At the same time, we’re cutting back surgeries to 30 per cent. Neither of these had to happen.
“This is a choice our government made and it’s time that they made responsible choices, implement restrictions similar to what we had last spring and avoid finding ourselves in a situation where Albertans’ lives are put at risk,” Gibney told Global News on Friday.
Of the active cases in Alberta Friday, 9,184 are in the Calgary zone, 5,992 are in the Edmonton zone, 3,094 are in the North zone, 2,425 are in the Central zone, 1,098 are in the South zone and 35 are not tied to any specific zone.
So far, Alberta had identified 190,734 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year and 166,824 people have recovered.
With files from The Canadian Press.