Active COVID-19 numbers have climbed locally and provincially, as Airdrie reported 72 active cases on March 22, while the provincial count reached above 6,000.
According to numbers updated daily on Airdrie.ca, there have been 2,001 total cases of the virus reported in the city in total. To date, 1,912 Airdronians have recovered from COVID-19 and 17 deaths have been reported.
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Cases are confirmed at five schools in Airdrie, according to the provincial COVID-19 status map. Northcott Prairie School is listed under "outbreak" status, meaning it has reported five to nine cases. R.J. Hawkey Elementary School, Atlas Learning Academy Ltd., Meadowbrook School and Our Lady Queen of Peace Elementary School have all been listed under "alert" status, meaning they are reporting two to four active cases.
No Airdrie-based facilities are currently on the Alberta government's list of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Across the province, according to alberta.ca, 456 new cases were identified on March 22, with a test positivity rate of 6.1 per cent. The new numbers mean there were 6,176 active cases in Alberta as of March 22, and there have been a total of 142,390 cases since the pandemic began.
According to the reported provincial numbers, 134,246 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19 as of March 22, while 280 patients were in hospital with the virus and 48 Albertans are in intensive care units. In total, 1,968 deaths have been reported in Alberta from COVID-19.
On March 22, Alberta government officials announced the province would not be moving into Step 3 of its 'A Path Forward' plan to ease public health restrictions. While the number of hospitalizations is below the 300-patient threshold, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the recent rise in active case and hospitalization rates is concerning enough to hold off on easing additional restrictions.
"When we announced the plan in January, we were clear," Shandro said at a government press conference. "Moving to Step 3 can be considered only when hospitalizations for COVID patients are under 300 and declining. Hospitalizations must be on a clear downward trajectory if we are to enter any new step, just like they were when we entered Step 1 and Step 2 earlier this year."
Like Airdrie, Rocky View County's (RVC) number of COVID-19 cases also climbed recently, as 61 active cases were reported as of March 22 – an increase of 31 from March 15. Three schools in RVC are on the provincial COVID-19 status map; Khalsa School Calgary Educational Foundation in Conrich, Springbank Middle School and Edge School in Springbank are all listed under "outbreak" status, with five to nine active cases.
On the east side of the county, Chestermere reported 43 active cases as of March 22 – an increase of three from March 17.
Cochrane reported 23 active cases of the virus as of March 22, while four schools have confirmed COVID-19 cases. Bow Valley High School is experiencing an outbreak of the virus with more than 10 cases confirmed. Elizabeth Barrett Elementary School, Fireside School and Cochrane High School are also listed on the government's COVID-19 school status map, with two to four active cases.
Regarding variant COVID-19 cases, Alberta identified 110 additional cases of variants of concern on March 22, bringing the provincial total to 1,711. These include 1,691 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (which originated in the United Kingdom) and 18 cases of the B.1.1351 South African variant. There have also been two reported cases of the Brazilian variant.
On the vaccination front, 487,493 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Alberta as of March 21, according to government figures. To date, 93,414 Albertans are fully immunized with two doses of a vaccine.