Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping and Dr. Deena Hinshaw to provide update on COVID-19

Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, will provide an update on efforts to contain the rapid spread of Omicron on Friday.

You can watch the press conference live here at 10:30 a.m. MT (12:30 p.m. ET).

Hinshaw was scheduled to hold the press conference on Thursday, but the briefing was postponed so she could attend a COVID-19 cabinet committee meeting to address growing concerns over Omicron.

The highly contagious new variant is spreading at an unprecedented rate across the country, pushing Alberta to set records for both cases and transmission rates.

On Thursday, for the second day in a row, the province broke its one-day record for COVID-19 cases.

Preliminary data released by the Government of Alberta shows 4,000 new infections were recorded on Thursday, eclipsing the previous record set the day before when 2,775 cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Confirmed cases do not include results from rapid home antigen tests, the recommended testing method for most Albertans, other than those in high-risk settings or at high risk of becoming serious.

Hinshaw warned Tuesday that she expects the number of active cases from government PCR testing to be “just the tip of the iceberg” of all active cases.

Province-wide, the positivity rate now hovers around 30 percent, also a record for the province.

As of Thursday, 371 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 48 in intensive care.

Omicron has put a comeback to the classroom for Alberta students in limbo.

At a press conference Thursday evening, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced that the K-12 winter break will be extended until January 10.

The January diploma exams were also canceled.

Classes will resume on Jan.10, LaGrange said, but decisions on whether students will learn in the classroom or at home have yet to be made.

“Further information on the next steps regarding learning in the classroom or at home from January 10 will be communicated at the end of next week,” the government said in a statement.

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