VACATIONS

COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Nov. 5

Watch this page throughout the day for updates on COVID-19 in Calgary

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With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.

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What’s happening now

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Share your COVID-19 stories

As Alberta grapples with a fourth wave of COVID-19 at the start of another school year, we’re looking to hear your stories on this evolving situation.

  • Are you or a loved one seeking medical care outside the country after facing a cancelled surgery here?
  • Are you someone who has decided to get vaccinated after previously being skeptical of the vaccines?
  • Are you a frontline heath care worker seeing new strains on the health system?

Send us your stories via email at [email protected] or by using this online submission forum .


Union warns transit could see service disruptions as city vaccination policy takes effect

A transit bus driver sanitizes his hands during a stop in downtown Calgary on Nov. 6, 2020.
A transit bus driver sanitizes his hands during a stop in downtown Calgary on Nov. 6, 2020. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Calgarians could see transit service disruptions as early as Monday due to staff shortages as the city’s vaccination policy takes effect, the head of the city’s transit union says.

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Mike Mahar, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, said he doesn’t have official numbers, but estimates a couple dozen workers have said they won’t comply with the city’s vaccination policy and another two dozen have resigned or quit in recent weeks.

The result, he said, is fewer drivers available to cover routes, particularly during peak travel periods.

Read more.


‘So excited’: Canadians eager to reunite with family in U.S. once land border reopens

Jaslyn DeClercq is counting down the days until next weekend.

With the U.S. land border reopening to fully vaccinated Canadians on Monday, the Tillsonburg, Ont., resident said she’s going to wake up next Friday and drive straight to Ohio with her two-year-old for a reunion with her fiance.

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DeClercq has been in a long-distance relationship with her fiance for four years and used to see him almost every weekend before the pandemic hit. The closure of the border due to COVID-19 was a huge blow and meant her daughter has only been able to see her father a few times over the last year and a half.

“I’m ready for it to be (next) Friday,” DeClercq said in a phone interview. “Going even 30 days without seeing him was a drastic change for us.”

Read more.


Alberta reports 466 new COVID-19 cases as fourth wave decline slows across Canada

Pedestrians walk near city hall in downtown Calgary on Friday.
Pedestrians walk near city hall in downtown Calgary on Friday. Photo by Jim Wells/Postmedia

Alberta reported another 466 cases of COVID-19 Friday as its fourth wave continues to decline.

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The latest numbers come as Canada’s top doctor warns recent progress in driving down case rates of the novel coronavirus has slowed, meaning the country could still see some “bumps” over the upcoming months.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down. We could still be in for a challenging winter,” chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said at a briefing Friday.

Alberta’s cases have declined steadily over the past month, while immunization rates have climbed following the introduction of a vaccine passport system and a growing number of employers imposing vaccination mandates.

Read more.


Friday’s numbers: Active cases continue to decline in Alberta

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers released this afternoon by Alberta Health:

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  • Alberta reported 466 new cases today.
  • Five more deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,142 in Alberta.
  • There are now 6,386 active cases in Alberta, fewer than 126 yesterday.
  • There are 660 people in hospital, down 17 from yesterday.
  • There are 141 people in ICU, down five from yesterday.
  • Out of the province’s total population, 74.2 per cent have received at least one dose, with 68.7 per cent fully vaccinated, as of Nov. 3.
  • Of those eligible for the vaccine, 87.3 per cent have received at least one dose, with 80.7 per cent fully vaccinated.

Why ‘ideal’ herd immunity is likely impossible — but attempting to get there still matters

Back in the early stages of the pandemic, when vaccines were still just a hopeful idea and variants of concern had yet to make an appearance, herd immunity was all the talk when it came to beating back COVID-19.

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Most researchers, looking at the reproduction rate of the original virus strain, figured a community would need to see 60 to 70 per cent of its population immunized to starve COVID-19 of new bodies to infect and effectively end the pandemic there.

But that figure seems quaint now. Despite nearly three quarters of Canada’s total population being vaccinated, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in many provinces, and Alberta and Saskatchewan are only just recovering from massive spikes that seriously threatened their healthcare systems.

Read more.


Hospitalizations, deaths continue to decline in Alberta

The Peter Lougheed Centre in northeast Calgary.
The Peter Lougheed Centre in northeast Calgary. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia


Children 11 and younger the highest proportion of COVID cases in Canada for first time

Students head back to class at a Calgary elementary school on Sept. 1, 2020.
Students head back to class at a Calgary elementary school on Sept. 1, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic has become a pandemic of unvaccinated primary school children, yet Health Canada’s review of Pfizer’s vaccine for the under-12s is still “a number of weeks” from completion, federal health officials said Friday.

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For the first time, children under 12 years of age make up the highest proportion of confirmed cases nationally. That age group represents more than 20 per cent of daily cases, but just 12 per cent of the Canadian population, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday.

It’s not an unexpected or surprising pattern, “given the high level of vaccination in other age groups,” and the fact schools have reopened and that children younger than 12 are so far not eligible for vaccination, Tam said.

Read more.




B.C. to phase out mink farming by 2025 due to risk of COVID-19 transmission

Mink operations at the nine farms in B.C. must end by 2025.
Mink operations at the nine farms in B.C. must end by 2025. Photo by Ric Ernst/Postmedia/File

The British Columbia government says it is phasing out mink farming because the threat of COVID-19 transmission is too great.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says mink are a reservoir for the spread of COVID-19 to humans and vice versa.

Henry says the scientific data shows the risk of transmission on the farms will continue.

She says about a dozen workers on the farms have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and many mink have also tested positive in three farms where the virus has been found.

Read more.


Pfizer says antiviral pill cuts risk of severe COVID-19 by 89%

A trial of Pfizer Inc’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 was stopped early after the drug was shown to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease, the company said on Friday.

The results appear to surpass those seen with Merck & Co Inc’s pill, molnupiravir, which was shown last month to halve the likelihood of dying or being hospitalized for COVID-19 patients also at high risk of serious illness.

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Full trial data is not yet available from either company.

Read more .


Thursday

Alberta cancelled estimated 15,000 surgeries to create fourth-wave capacity

Health Minister Jason Copping provided an update on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health at the McDougall Centre in Calgary on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Health Minister Jason Copping provided an update on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health at the McDougall Centre in Calgary on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Alberta cancelled an estimated 15,000 surgeries as it scrambled to preserve health-care capacity during the fourth wave of COVID-19, the province’s health minister confirmed Thursday.

It’s the first time the United Conservative government has provided the number of surgeries that had to be postponed in recent months when the province took drastic steps to free up space in its health-care system.

“I indicated earlier today that we postponed, unfortunately, roughly 15,000 surgeries. To put that into context, in the first three waves, 30,000 surgeries were postponed,” Health Minister Jason Copping said in the legislature Thursday.

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Thursday

Alberta reports 516 new cases, four deaths

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers released this afternoon by Alberta Health:

  • Alberta reported 516 new cases today.
  • Four more deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,137 in Alberta.
  • There are now 6,515 active cases in Alberta, down from 6,693 yesterday.
  • There are 677 people in hospital, down by 20 people from yesterday.
  • There are 146 people in ICU, down by nine people from yesterday.
  • The province completed 12,388 tests for a positivity rate of about 4.2 per cent.
  • Out of the province’s total population, 74.2 per cent have received at least one dose, with 68.7 per cent fully vaccinated.
  • Of those eligible for the vaccine, 87.3 per cent have received at least one dose, with 80.7 per cent fully vaccinated.

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Thursday

Hospitalizations, deaths continue to decline in Alberta

Emergency entrance at Calgary’s South Health Campus.
Emergency entrance at Calgary’s South Health Campus. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia


Thursday

It’s not about O’Toole: Conservatives to form ‘mini-caucus’ on vaccine mandates

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole removes his mask as he steps up to the podium at a news conference on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Ottawa.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole removes his mask as he steps up to the podium at a news conference on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Ottawa. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

OTTAWA — Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu says she and other colleagues are forming what’s shaping up to be a “mini-caucus” within the existing Tory caucus to advocate for Canadians concerned about the impacts of vaccine mandates.

She says the group is still sorting out logistics, but wants to make one thing clear: “This is not about Erin O’Toole’s leadership. Has nothing to do with that.”

“It’s really hearing from our constituents and trying to figure out what we can do to bring those questions forward, get some answers, raise attention and awareness,” Gladu said in an interview Thursday.

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Thursday

Disappointment and resignation as Quebec drops health worker vaccine mandate

An anti-vaccine protester and a vaccine supporter demonstrate in front of a hospital in Montreal on Sept. 13, 2021.
An anti-vaccine protester and a vaccine supporter demonstrate in front of a hospital in Montreal on Sept. 13, 2021. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Members of the medical community expressed disappointment and resignation on Thursday after the Quebec government cancelled its vaccine mandate for health-care workers, with some saying the decision is a symptom of wider problems in the system.

Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at the McGill University Health Centre, said he was dissatisfied with the decision, even as he acknowledged that the Quebec government had little choice.

“Now, the government has put themselves on the receiving end of their own budget cuts and realized, ‘Holy moly, the hospital and health-care system is so understaffed that we can’t even fulfil our decree and we’re going to have to do something embarrassing, which is to rescind our mandate,’” he said.

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Read more.


Thursday

Lack of communication between Hinshaw, Kenney offices as fourth wave rose: NDP

Alberta NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman speaks at a press conference in Calgary on Aug. 25, 2021.
Alberta NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman speaks at a press conference in Calgary on Aug. 25, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

The NDP Opposition charges that a document search reveals a lack of communication between Alberta’s chief medical officer of health and Premier Jason Kenney as COVID-19 numbers surged over the summer.

The document, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that there were no emails sent between Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s offices between Aug. 13 and Aug. 30.

“Everyone has the right to a vacation but anyone who is in a position of responsibility must leave someone in charge in their absence,” NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman said in a press release.

“Incredibly, the Premier insists it was him, maintaining that he was in daily contact with his staff and senior officials while on holiday.”

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In mid-August, Kenney took two weeks of vacation when Alberta’s health-care system saw a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Neither Kenney, Hinshaw or another member of the UCP government held an update on COVID-19 during those weeks, with Kenney’s absence noted from Aug. 9 to Sept. 1, when he held a Facebook Live event.

However, Kenney maintained he was in touch with staff and ministers daily on a number of pressing issues, including COVID.

According to a release, the NDP has pressed Kenney to say who was legally in charge of the provincial government while he was out of the country.

“Yesterday, the Premier claimed that when he learned surgeries would be cancelled, he acted ‘immediately,’” Hoffman said. “That was a lie. There is no evidence that he was in briefings, meetings, teleconferences, or any other substantive discussions that lead into action.”

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The Opposition is currently calling for an all-party committee to investigate the UCP’s response during the fourth wave, and for the Auditor General to investigate whether Kenney’s office formally handed executive authority to an acting premier while he was on vacation, according to the release.

FOIP request Nov. 3 by Brittany Gervais on Scribd


Thursday

Nine lung transplants performed in B.C. as a result of COVID infections

Dr. John Yee, director of the lung transplant program at Vancouver General Hospital, says he has performed nine double-lung transplants on COVID-19 patients since April 2021.
Dr. John Yee, director of the lung transplant program at Vancouver General Hospital, says he has performed nine double-lung transplants on COVID-19 patients since April 2021. PNG

Nine British Columbians “on the precipice of death” have received double-lung transplants since April after they suffered severe internal damage from COVID-19, according the director of the lung transplant program at Vancouver General Hospital.

The virus represents a new pathway to the life-altering surgery that involves removing a person’s diseased lungs from their body and replacing them with donor lungs from a person who has died.

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Of the nine British Columbians who received a lung transplant, eight of them had “no comorbidities,” meaning they were healthy before contracting COVID, said Dr. John Yee, the surgeon who performed the transplants. The patients range in age from early-30s to mid-50s and worked in public-facing jobs, although not all of them contracted the virus at work.

Read more .


Thursday

Thousands of unvaccinated Canadian workers are being fired or put on leave, squeezing already tight labour market

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised vaccine mandates as a central part of his successful campaign for re-election in September.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised vaccine mandates as a central part of his successful campaign for re-election in September. Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Canadian employers are firing or putting on unpaid leave thousands of workers who refused to get COVID-19 shots, squeezing an already tight labour market and raising prospects of potentially disruptive legal challenges.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised vaccine mandates as a central part of his successful campaign for re-election in September, setting a precedent that has spread from the public to the private sector.

The mandate for federal workers is one of the world’s strictest, and the government has extended it to federally regulated spaces, which include airports, and to air and rail travellers.

Read more .

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