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669 new cases, 21 COVID-19 deaths in Alberta

Last Updated Jan 20, 2021 at 3:56 pm MST

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

CALGARY – Alberta has recorded 669 new COVID-19 infections and 21 additional deaths over the last 24 hours.

There are 744 people in the hospital with the virus including 124 people in the ICU.

Seven of the additional deaths were in the Calgary zone, and there are 10,565 active cases around Alberta. The Calgary zone is leading with active cases, sitting at 4,096 currently.

Alberta’s positivity rate, which on Wednesday was 4.5 per cent, has been steadily declining. There were about 14,900 tests performed in the past 24 hours.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the downward trend is encouraging, but people still need to be vigilant when it comes to wearing masks, hygiene, and following other health guidelines.

“It’s very encouraging to see our positivity rate declining since the peak in December. I would say that the data we have indicates that the restrictions put in place in November and December have achieved, so far, their intended outcome,” Hinshaw said.

Over 95,000 vaccines have been given to Albertans in the first phase of the rollout plan. Eighteen adverse events were recorded including six allergic reactions.

WATCH: Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides the latest COVID-19 health update for Alberta

Hinshaw said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks and she encourages Albertans to get their shot in the arm when it’s their turn to do so.

But unfortunately, there is not enough of the vaccine in Alberta to provide second doses to people waiting as well as first doses to unvaccinated people at the same time.

“With the numbers that we’re seeing now in terms of the anticipated Pfizer doses that will be coming to us in the next several week, we simply do not have enough vaccine to be able to both provide second doses to those who have already received their first and also to offer first doses to additional people.”

Long-term care residents will be first in line to get their second dose to ensure they get the shot within the recommended time frame, and then health care staff will be next in line.

She is asking health care workers to be patient while the province works to iron out the kinks and make the rollout smoother once more vaccines arrive.