Active cases of COVID-19 in St. Albert increased over the weekend, up from 165 on Friday to 173 on Monday.
New provincial data, released on Monday, shows the city added 25 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, while 17 more people recovered. The data reflects testing done Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Overall cases in the city increased from 1,799 to 1,824 between Friday's report and the data released Monday.
Saturday brought news of 10 new diagnoses and four more recoveries. On Sunday, the province reported nine new diagnoses in St. Albert and nine more recoveries. Monday's data showed six more diagnoses and four more recoveries.
In Sturgeon County, 41 people currently have COVID-19, with 513 people having recovered since the pandemic began. The county added seven new cases over the weekend and four people recovered.
Morinville has 25 active cases, with 315 people having recovered from the virus since the pandemic began. The town added three new cases over the weekend and one person recovered.
Across the province, another 474 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in the past 24 hours.
Some 8,500 tests were run overnight with a 5.4-per-cent positivity rate.
There are currently 730 Albertans in the hospital with 120 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
There were 11 new deaths reported by the province on Monday.
To put that in perspective, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 11 deaths in one day alone make up nearly 20 per cent of all influenza deaths last year, with 58 people having passed away from the flu last year.
Sixty-six per cent of all deaths related to COVID-19 in Alberta since the pandemic began have been in long-term care and seniors homes, Hinshaw said.
There are currently 181 cases of COVID-19 in 133 schools since in-person classes resumed last monday. Hinshaw said those cases are being brought into schools from community spread and there are not many cases being transmitted in schools.
"This number reflects community transmission and not in-school transmission, and it's important to distinguish between the two," Hinshaw said.
On Monday, social gathering and business rules loosened, with the province allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and wellness businesses to operate by appointment only.
Hinshaw said while the province is loosening restrictions, it is important for Albertans to continue to make safe choices around COVID-19.
"We are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet," Hinshaw said.
The province's top doctor said while COVID-19 numbers in the province are declining, there is still a lot of work to be done to continue to bring down case counts.
Monday brought with it the relaxing of some provincial restrictions, allowing personal services businesses to reopen and outdoor gatherings, with limits, as well as eased rules for funerals. Hinshaw noted that three months ago, on Oct. 18, the active case count was sitting at just over 3,000. On Monday the provincial active case count sat at 11,923.
"Critically, on Oct. 18, there were 120 people in hospital with COVID-19. Today we have more than six times that total," Hinshaw said.
"So as we ease the restrictions on three province-wide measures today, please continue to take every precaution you can, and make good choices – choices that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, choices that will help save lives and our health-care system, and choices that will help lead us in a direction where we may be able to safely relax more measures in the weeks ahead."
Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette