There were 349 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta over the past 24 hours, the provincial government reported on its website Friday afternoon.
The province’s positivity rate was reported as being 3.56 per cent.
Despite the new cases, the total number of active coronavirus cases in the province dropped to 4,440 on Friday, down from 4,539 the day before.
The Calgary zone continues to have more active COVID-19 cases (1,749) than any other region in the province, followed by the Edmonton zone (1,166), the North zone (653), the Central zone (537) and the South zone (329). There are six active COVID-19 cases that have not been linked to any particular zone.
The total number of Albertans to have died from COVID-19 has risen to 3,258, up one from Thursday.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 395 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, with 78 of those patients being treated in intensive-care units. While the number of hospitalizations was down from Thursday (419), Friday’s total number of ICU patients with COVID-19 in Alberta was actually two more than a day earlier.
Alberta Health did not provide an update on the presence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the province on Friday. On Thursday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that a fourth case of the variant of concern had been identified in Alberta.
The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron variant’s high number of mutations could suggest that it may be more transmissible than previous strains.
On Friday, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization announced it strongly recommends everyone 50 years of ago or older get a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation came about following a request from the federal government for information on the role of COVID-19 vaccine boosters in fighting the new Omicron variant.
On Friday afternoon, Hinshaw tweeted out a reminder that Albertans 60 years of age or older are eligible to book a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, as long as at least six months have passed since their second dose.
–With files from Laura Osman, The Canadian Press
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