Rise in variant cases not influencing Alberta's reopening plan: Hinshaw

Coronavirus Canada Updates COVID-19 cases drop in Alberta as variant concern rises

There are now a total of 221 variant cases in the province with 214 of the B.1.1.7 (UK variant) and seven of the B.1.351 (South African variant).

The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour wants a meeting with the premier and provincial labour minister to ensure workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks are shut down.

Right now it is good news that hospitalizations have continued to decline, as has the reproductive rate (R-value) of the virus, which currently sits at 0.85.

There were four more variant cases of COVID-19 found in Alberta in the past 24 hours.

Public health experts in that province say reopening will be delayed if 10 per cent of new cases are of variant strains.

Of the cases being monitored, transmission is split between being travel-related and community spread.

"We will be watching closely in the days to come to see if this (is an) isolated finding or concerning trend", Hinshaw said. "I am particularly concerned about the growing number of cases not linked to travel, though many of these cases are the results of close contacts who we have identified through robust contact tracing".

A statement from the labour group links to a letter that Alberta Health Services wrote to Olymel last week, which says on-site testing suggests one in five workers may have been infected.

"Evidence shows that it is in these social get-togethers where we see the highest rates of transmission", Hinshaw said. On Monday, Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed 298 active cases are tied to the variant first found in the United Kingdom.