LETHBRIDGE, AB – After a few days of lower numbers, Alberta is reporting 21 COVID fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Two of those deaths are in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services.

One involved a woman in her 90’s in Lethbridge and the other, a man in his 80’s linked to an outbreak at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.

When it comes to new cases, there were 669 people who tested positive over the past day out of about 14,900 tests for a provincial positivity rate of 4.5 percent. That’s more than a full percentage point lower than the previous day’s rate.

Lethbridge added 6 new cases and now has 137 active cases for the second day of decline.

Cardston County however, after a one day decline in active cases, rose by four.

That municipality added nine new cases in the past 24 hours.

There are still 744 people in hospital across the province and 124 of them are in the ICU.

As of Jan. 19, there had been 95,243 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Alberta.

Click here for up to date local, national, and international COVID-19 case data.

Alberta’s Official Opposition meanwhile, is calling on the Premier to present a proactive and transparent plan to respond to emerging variants of COVID-19.

Variants identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and the United States are believed to spread faster and more easily than the dominant coronavirus strain.

Alberta has already identified 12 cases of the UK variant and five cases of the South African variant.

NDP Health Critic David Shepherd says Premier Jason Kenney was “too slow to act” during the second wave and needs to be prepared if one or more of the variants begin to spread.

He says “in the fall we saw escalating warning signs and escalating danger for weeks while Jason Kenney refused to act. He can’t be a deer in the headlights again.”

In addition to a publicly-shared strategy on variant response, Shepherd wants to see daily reporting of variant testing and cases and an increase in the rate of genetic sequencing to ten percent of all positive tests.