EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — The first two community spread cases of the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, have been identified in Alberta.
Before Wednesday, there were only four confirmed cases in the province, all related to travel.
WATCH: Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides latest update on COVID-19 in Alberta
The two new cases of the P.1 variant are included in another record-breaking day for the province when it comes to variant infections, with 202 cases being identified in the last 24 hours.
Variant cases now make up 19 per cent of total active cases in the province.
In total, 692 cases of COVID-19 were identified on Wednesday.
In the last day hospitals did see a slight decrease in COVID-19 patients, with 285 people now fighting the virus in hospital, and 53 people in the ICU.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says beginning Thursday, the province will be making a change to how it reports variant cases — saying it will now be automated to speed up the reporting of the cases.
“This means there will be a one-time combination of two days of variant cases that will likely cause a larger than usual number of variant cases being reported tomorrow,” Dr. Hinshaw said.
She hopes her warning will avoid concerns being raised by Albertans on Thursday when numbers are released.
Currently, there are active alerts or outbreaks in 363 schools in the province — equaling about 15 per cent of schools in the province.
Dr. Hinshaw says some schools have seen variant cases.
Adds they have not seen much difference between a spread of the variants in schools vs the spread of the original COVID.
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) March 24, 2021
These schools have a combined 1,550 cases since Jan. 11.