There's a new sub-variant in Alberta.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw joined Health Minister Jason Copping Wednesday (Mar. 23) for their weekly briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the province.  

According to Hinshaw, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron makes up 60 per cent of COVID-19 cases and has become the dominant strain in Alberta. 

“As we’ve seen over the last two years, some variants emerge and disappear without large impacts, while others persist and become dominant like Delta and Omicron,” said Hinshaw. 

Hinshaw explained there is no evidence of BA.2 having more severe outcomes than the Omicron strain however is more transmissible; she believes infections will trend up in the coming weeks as a result. 

“Those at risk of severe outcomes should revisit their precautionary measures – this is particularly important for those who are 65 or older, or those who have medical conditions like COPD or diabetes that puts them at higher risk.” 

Currently, there are 956 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 56 in intensive care. The average positivity rate sits at 23.5 per cent.  

Between Friday and Monday, 21 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in Alberta. A total of 4,044 have died since the start of the pandemic. 

Hinshaw added that the province is currently not planning to expand fourth-dose vaccine eligibility, saying the fourth shots are only for those with immunocompromising conditions.