Alberta recorded its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases since mid-May on Thursday, as health authorities announced they had identified 1,339 new coronavirus cases since a day earlier.
With the new cases, the province had 12,868 active COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon. The Edmonton (3,947) and Calgary (3,593) zones continued to have more active cases than any other zone.
The total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Alberta also rose on Thursday, up five from the day before for a total of 2,388 fatalities.
As of Wednesday, Alberta’s positivity rate was at 10.81 per cent.
According to numbers posted by Alberta Health on Thursday afternoon, the province saw coronavirus hospitalizations increase by 22 and the number of ICU patients go up by seven over the past 24 hours. There are currently 487 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19 and 114 of those are in ICUs.
On Thursday, Opposition Leader Rachel Notley called on the province to return to mandatory masking for unvaccinated Albertans when entering essential places.
While Alberta has not brought in any new public health measures since the pandemic’s fourth wave hit the province, a number of municipalities have voted to bring in indoor masking requirements or are considering doing so.
Citing concerns about the strain COVID-19 is again placing on the health-care system, Notley also called on the province to bring in new rules to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for anyone attending non-essential businesses and mass gatherings.
Premier Jason Kenney and his government have repeatedly said they will not mandate proof of vaccination.
The surge in COVID-19 cases has led to the postponement of some non-urgent surgeries in the Edmonton and North zones and also led to significant pressure on the health-care system, according to some senior Alberta Health Services officials and health-care professionals.
–With files from The Canadian Press’ Dean Bennett
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