A technical issue with the reporting application has once again limited the COVID-19 data being released in Alberta.

For the second day in a row, only preliminary information for province-wide case numbers is available.

While there are no “zone specific” numbers, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there have been 162 new cases confirmed since Wednesday and two additional deaths.

The fatalities involve a man in his 70’s in the Calgary Zone and a woman in her 80’s in the North Zone.

Hinshaw says Alberta has not yet seen the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and is encouraging people to focus on their health by quitting or cutting down on smoking and vaping and limiting alcohol consumption.

“Smoking and using e-cigarettes can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals,” says Hinshaw. “It is not clear if these exposures increase the risk of catching COVID-19, however they do increase the risk of severe illness for those who get infected.”

As far as limiting alcohol consumption, Hinshaw says drinking “can make many things worse including health issues, risk taking behaviours, mental health, and violence” and recommends no more than two drinks per day for women and no more than three drinks per day for men.

Alberta Health Services South Zone remains with 36 confirmed cases, however again that number hasn’t changed since Tuesday because of the technical issues. Officials are hoping updated health zones numbers will be available on Friday.