Alberta reported 99 new variant cases of the B.1.1.7 variant originating from the United Kingdom on Saturday.
The province also recorded 556 new cases of COVID-19, with 5,618 active cases. Of those active cases, 759 or 13.5 per cent are identified as variants of concern.
There are currently 2,296 active cases in the Calgary zone, 1,310 in the Edmonton zone, 534 in the Central zone, 724 in the North, 735 in the South, with 19 listed as unknown.
There were four more deaths in the province, bringing the total to 1,961.
There are now 279 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, with 47 patients in intensive care.
The positivity rate is now at 5.89 per cent, with 9,979 tests completed within the last 24 hours.
As of end-of-day Friday, 452,690 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered and there are now 93,194 Albertans who have been fully immunized with two does.
The benchmark for the province to move into Step 3 is to have 300 hospitalizations and declining. Premier Jason Kenney and his cabinet are set to meet Monday to decide on moving into the next step.
On Friday NDP health critic David Shepherd brought up concerns about the increased numbers.
“Today’s numbers come roughly two weeks after the Step 2 reopening measures and this dramatic growth of COVID-19 comes only days before Jason Kenney is scheduled to make a decision about Step 3 reopening. His language over this past week certainly suggests to me that he plans to proceed,” Shepherd said.
Also adding that these numbers do not meet the criteria for restrictions to be eased on Monday.
-With files from Anna Junker
For more on Alberta’s vaccine rollout, read our guide driven by reader questions.