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B.1.1.7 variant now dominant strain in Alberta, P.1 variant picking up steam: Hinshaw

Last Updated Apr 20, 2021 at 8:36 pm MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — As the province reports an additional 1,345 cases of COVID-19, 816 of which are variants of concern, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the B.1.1.7 variant is now the dominant strain in Alberta.

Variants currently represent about 57 per cent of all active cases in the province.

“We are also seeing growth of P.1 cases, with community transmission in many parts of the province,” Hinshaw said. “Our positivity rate currently stands at 10.4 per cent.”

Thirteen cases of the P.1 variant were reported Tuesday, with the remaining 803 cases being the B.1.1.7 strain.

WATCH: Premier Jason Kenney joins Dr. Deena Hinshaw to provide an update on COVID-19 in Alberta.

Currently, there are active alerts or outbreaks in 567 schools in the province, representing about 23 per cent of all schools in Alberta.

On Monday, Fort McMurray followed Calgary in moving both public and catholic students from grade 7 to 12 to online learning.

Tuesday afternoon, Edmonton followed suit.

As for hospitalizations in the province, there are now 476 people in hospital, with 105 in the ICU.

An additional 5 deaths were reported Tuesday.

Premier Jason Kenney joined Hinshaw on Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccinations in the province.

Kenney began by thanking all those 40 and older who have taken advantage of the expanded eligibility and went to get their dose of vaccine.

RELATED: High demand results in limited walk-ins at Calgary COVID vaccine clinic

“I, myself, booked AstraZeneca online at 8 a.m. this morning,” said Kenney who added he is due to receive his first dose this Thursday.

Dr. Hinshaw also managing to secure a dose, tweeting out Tuesday she has now received her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Kenney addressing how successful expanding eligibility has been in the last day.

“We have about 70,000 appointments already booked for the next ten days, and that’s going up by the minute,” said Kenney. “That includes 27,000 bookings that were made today alone. That is more uptake in one day than in all of last week, so well done to everyone who is participating.”

But the rollout hasn’t come without its bumps. Kenney adding the province only has about 160,000 doses of AstraZeneca remaining and the province doesn’t know when the next shipment will come in.

“As you may have heard, the Indian government has temporarily banned export shipments, so, once again, we’re being affected by vaccine nationalism,” he said. “So, if you’re over the age of 40, I urged you to take advantage of this opportunity before the supply runs out.”

The province has now administered nearly 1.2M doses of vaccine, with one in four Albertans over the age of 16 now having received their first dose.