COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for April 15

COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for April 15

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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.


What’s happening now

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My COVID Story: How have you been impacted by coronavirus?

Postmedia is looking to speak with people who may have been impacted by COVID-19 here in Alberta.  Have you undergone a travel-related quarantine? Have you received your vaccine, and if so did you feel any side effects? Have you changed your life for the better because of the pandemic? Send us an email at reply@calgaryherald.com to tell us your experience, or send us a message via this form.

Read our ongoing coverage of personal stories arising from the pandemic.



Poll: What would it take for you to attend Stampede?

In our poll yesterday, more than half of respondents said they didn’t think the 2021 Stampede will go ahead. Premier Jason Kenney has spoken several times about his hopes that the annual event will proceed in some fashion. Our question today assumes it is going to happen.

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Yesterday’s results:

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Bridgeland Market temporarily closes with positive COVID-19 case

Bridgeland Market is temporarily closing as of 2 p.m. Thursday after one of its staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The market said in an Instagram post the staff member last worked on April 11 and other staff who worked with or came into contact with the positive staff member will be tested and isolate for 14 days.

The market plans to reopen tomorrow at 9 a.m.

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Nenshi gets the jab

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Patio permits in high demand as Calgary restaurants pivot to outdoor service only

Cam Dobranski, owner of Container Bar and Eatcrow snack bar in Kensington, sets up a patio outside his restaurant on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The current COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta bans indoor dining while patios can stay operational.
Cam Dobranski, owner of Container Bar and Eatcrow snack bar in Kensington, sets up a patio outside his restaurant on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The current COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta bans indoor dining while patios can stay operational. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

As restaurants and bars pivot to outdoor dining with the recent closure of indoor service, applications to the city for pop-up patios have already surpassed last season.

With patio-friendly weather expected on the weekend — after less than ideal temperatures last weekend — Ernie Tsu, president of the Alberta Hospitality Association and owner of Trolley 5 Brewpub on 17th Avenue, hopes the city will expedite the patio application process to give businesses a leg up.

“Restaurants are mobilizing as fast as they can to get their patio permits. Hopefully, the city can come through for the restaurants that are still waiting,” Tsu said Thursday.

Read more.


Alberta to open AstraZeneca walk-in clinics; Hinshaw stresses effectiveness, low risk of vaccine

Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021.
Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Alberta Health Services will open two walk-in clinics administrating the AstraZeneca vaccine in Calgary and Edmonton on Saturday, allowing those 55 to 64 years old, regardless of where they live, to receive immunization against the COVID-19 virus.

The Calgary clinic, located at 10301 Southport Lane S.W., will initially operate until next Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Albertans eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine can also book appointments at one of 710 pharmacies across the province. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said walk-in vaccinations are available at 26 pharmacies in Calgary and Edmonton for those aged 55 to 64.

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Hinshaw strongly urged those eligible for their first shot to take advantage of one of those options, touting the effectiveness of the vaccine and clarifying that risks associated with AstraZeneca are low.

Read more.


Vancouver biggest source for domestic COVID infected flights, Calgary second: Health Canada

A WestJet flight from Vancouver lands at the Calgary International Airport on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
A WestJet flight from Vancouver lands at the Calgary International Airport on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Data made available by Health Canada shows, so far in April, 39 flights departed from Vancouver International Airport carrying passengers who tested positive for COVID-19.

Calgary was Canada’s second-biggest source of infected domestic flights with 31, followed by Toronto with 23, Edmonton with 12 and Montreal with six.

Unlike international passengers, which under Canadian law are required to present a recent negative COVID-19 test before boarding and submit to a second test and mandatory quarantine upon arrival, no such rules exist for domestic travel.

Read more.


22 tickets for failing to wear a facemask issued in the last week in Calgary

A person wearing a face mask passes by Vine Arts Wine and Spirits on 17 Ave. S.W. where a sign behind the window requires customers to wear a face covering on Friday, July 31, 2020.
A person wearing a face mask passes by Vine Arts Wine and Spirits on 17 Ave. S.W. where a sign behind the window requires customers to wear a face covering on Friday, July 31, 2020. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

There have been 22 more tickets issued by peace and police officers in the last week, according to the City of Calgary’s latest update on COVID-19 enforcement measures.

There’s been 367 such tickets issued since the facemask bylaw was first enacted on Aug. 1, 2020.

There were no additional tickets issued under the Public Health Act in the last week, the city said. There have been 206 of those tickets issued since Nov. 24.


No more pandemic break for street cleaning parking scofflaws

The City of Calgary is launching its annual street sweeping program.
The City of Calgary is launching its annual street sweeping program. Photo by Yolande Cole /Postmedia

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After a year of softer enforcement, Calgarians who fail to observe a street sweeping parking ban are facing stricter policing as spring street cleaning is set to begin next week.

Residential street cleaning will commence Monday with sweeping to occur weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Signage will alert residents to the schedule in their neighbourhood.

Last year as a compassionate pandemic gesture, only 8,801 tickets were issued to parking scofflaws compared to the 36,453 handed out in 2019.

And while 881 vehicles were towed to make way for street sweepers in 2019, just 68 were hauled away last year.

Read more.


Gold’s Gym Northgate issued closure order for violating health restrictions

Gold’s Gym Northgate.
Gold’s Gym Northgate. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Alberta Health Services has issued a closure order to a Calgary location of Gold’s Gym for violating public health restrictions.

The closure order issued Wednesday to Gold’s Gym Northgate located at 109, 565 36 St. N.E. said that health inspectors found clients working out without trainers, trainers working out by themselves, and multiple trainers doing workouts together with clients; three-metre physical distancing between people working out was not being maintained; and clients weren’t wearing masks properly.

Current public health restrictions mandate only one-on-one training, masks to be worn by trainers at all times and clients while they are not engaged in high intensity exercise and three-metre physical distancing is maintained during exercises and between pairs of trainers and clients.

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The gym was ordered to immediately close until proper one-on-one training structures are adhered to, clients are wearing masks properly, and three-metre distancing rules are followed.


1,646 new cases, five deaths

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province on Thursday afternoon

  • 1,646 new cases on ~17,200 tests; 9.5% positivity rate
  • 1,020 new variant cases identified; variants 53.5% of active cases
  • 416 in hospital; 92 in ICUs
  • Five additional deaths; 2,034 total
  • 16,223 active cases; 147,920 recovered
  • Active alerts or outbreaks in 478 schools
  • All extracurricular activities for students in Calgary required to take place outdoors or paused for the two weeks students are in at-home learning
  • AHS is opening two walk-in locations in Calgary and Edmonton for AstraZeneca vaccinations on the weekend

Watch the full livestream below.

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Walk-in AstraZeneca vaccinations available in Calgary on weekend

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The Calgary AstraZeneca vaccination walk-in clinic will be at 10301 Southport Lane S.W. and will operate April 17-21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

“The risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 treatment in those aged 55 to 59 is approximately 1,500 times greater than the risk of VIPIT (rare blood clots known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia), and the risk of death from COVID-19 in this age group is approximately 125 times greater than the risk of VIPIT,” AHS noted in a news release.


Alberta NDP proposes creating independent seniors’ advocate

NDP seniors critic Lori Sigurdson.
NDP seniors critic Lori Sigurdson. Photo by supplied

NDP seniors critic Lori Sigurdson has tabled a new private member’s bill that, if passed, would establish an independent Alberta seniors’ advocate.

Similar to what already exists in British Columbia, Bill 215, the Seniors’ Advocate Act, tabled Thursday, would create an office independent from government that would help seniors navigate services, provide policy recommendations and be able to conduct non-binding reviews if systemic issues or issues in the public interest arise.

Read more.


‘A case of self-congratulatory white privilege’: Calgary reverend calls out GraceLife Church

A woman holds up a tattered Canadian flag as police stand by while a crowd of about 400 gathered outside GraceLife Church on the first Sunday after the closure west of Edmonton, April 11, 2021.
A woman holds up a tattered Canadian flag as police stand by while a crowd of about 400 gathered outside GraceLife Church on the first Sunday after the closure west of Edmonton, April 11, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

A reverend of a Calgary church is calling out Edmonton-area GraceLife Church after it met underground on Sunday.

GraceLife had been defying COVID-19 restrictions on worship services until RCMP and Alberta Health Services surrounded the church with a fence last week. Protesters gathered at the church on Sunday, while the church held services “underground” at an undisclosed location.

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Reverend Dr. Greg Glatz, the minister of Knox United Church, say GraceLife pastor James Coates — and Calgary pastor Tim Stephens whose Fairview Baptist Church has also been defying public health restrictions — get “their Bible half-right and in so doing they get it all wrong.”

“This celebratory approach to the notoriety these churches have gained by defying public health and safety orders makes a mockery of the real underground church movement,” Glatz wrote in a letter posted on Twitter. “Underground churchgoers have faced arrest, torture and death for their beliefs and practices. GraceLife Church is not an underground church. It’s a case of self-congratulatory white privilege enjoying its ill-gotten celebrity, with little consequence other than the inconvenience of finding a new location to defy public health and safety orders.”

Glatz went on to say that Stephens misinterprets the Bible.

“Arrogantly and ignorantly defying public health and safety orders to hold a worship service is not how the Christian tradition defines love and good deeds,” Glatz wrote.


AHS opens temporary COVID-19 testing site in Banff

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More than 350 Calgary pharmacies now offering COVID-19 vaccine

Pharmacist Brian Jones with a COVID-19 vaccine at the Evergreen Village Shoppers Drug Mart in Calgary.
Pharmacist Brian Jones with a COVID-19 vaccine at the Evergreen Village Shoppers Drug Mart in Calgary. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

There are now 354 pharmacies offering the COVID-19 vaccine in Calgary. Although the government said on Monday that “select” pharmacies are taking (AstraZeneca) walk-ins for those aged 55-64, it’s likely best to call ahead. Before booking, go to the Alberta government website to find out when you’re eligible for your free vaccination. More details on booking an appointment at a pharmacy can be found at Alberta Blue Cross.


Lethbridge physician’s death linked to COVID-19

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Lethbridge psychiatrist Dr. Wayne John Edwards is the second Alberta doctor to die due COVID-19, the province confirmed Thursday.

Edwards, 66, is being remembered for his commitment to the field of medicine and his love of music.

“With great sorrow, we recognize the death of a Lethbridge physician related to COVID-19,” the Alberta Medical Association said in a tweet Thursday.

“So many Albertans have lost loved ones and friends to this terrible disease. The physician community joins in mourning a colleague and leader of his health community.”

Edwards died at the Chinook Regional Hospital on Tuesday, according to his obituary in Lethbridge News Now. His death marks the seventh fatality of a health-care worker in Alberta due to COVID-19.

Read more.


So you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Where may you travel?

As of April 3, over 700,000 Canadians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 virus, sparking hopes that travel may not be out of the question for this summer.
As of April 3, over 700,000 Canadians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 virus, sparking hopes that travel may not be out of the question for this summer. Photo by The Canadian Press

As Canada’s immunization campaign finally sets into full swing after months of delays, the promise of a summer free of the worry of being infected with COVID-19 draws tantalizingly closer and with it, the question of where to take that first post-pandemic vacation.

As of April 3, 2021, more than five million Canadians have received their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine and of that group, 716,068 are fully vaccinated and, therefore, deemed safe to travel.

Countries around the world have begun to gradually lower their COVID-19 travel barriers and waive the quarantine requirements for tourists, contingent on proof that they have been fully vaccinated or have biological immunity to the virus from a previous infection.

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Read more.


‘Sicker and younger’: Toronto ICU copes with pressure during third wave of pandemic

ICU health care worker Jannikka Navaratnam tends to a patient at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Dec. 9, 2020.
ICU health care worker Jannikka Navaratnam tends to a patient at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Dec. 9, 2020. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Intensive care nurse Jane Abas is assessing her patient, checking her medication and monitoring her heart rate.

The 68-year-old woman tested positive for a COVID-19 variant shortly after arriving at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital for an unrelated health concern. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she had to be placed on a ventilator, suffering a cardiac arrest after the intubation process.

Abas says the woman is more stable this morning, but as cases involving the variants of the novel coronavirus rise, a patient’s situation can change quickly. The day before, another COVID-19 patient in a similar condition — who had just retired last month — passed away. She says it happened fast.

Read more.


Two to a bed in Delhi hospital as India’s COVID crisis spirals

COVID-19 patients are treated in crowded Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital in New Delhi on April 15, 2021.
COVID-19 patients are treated in crowded Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital in New Delhi on April 15, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Gasping for air, two men wearing oxygen masks share a bed in a government hospital in India’s capital New Delhi, victims of the country’s growing COVID-19 crisis.

From reporting under 10,000 new daily cases earlier this year, daily infections crossed 200,000 on Thursday, according to official data, the highest anywhere in the world.

At Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), one of India’s largest COVID-only facilities with more than 1,500 beds, a stream of ambulances ferried patients to the overflowing casualty ward on Thursday.

Read more.


The latest on COVID-19 from across Canada

A tent city has been erected in the parking lot of Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases.
A tent city has been erected in the parking lot of Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post/File

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The capital city of Nunavut is now under a strict lockdown after logging its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. All schools, non-essential businesses and government offices in Iqaluit are closed and contact tracing is underway. Canadian North, Nunavut’s main airline, confirmed that the infected individual is one of their employees in Iqaluit.

Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the province’s total number of active infections to 42. The patients are provincial residents who are not in Nova Scotia, but are included as part of cumulative provincial data.

Quebec is reporting 1,513 new cases of COVID-19 today and 15 more deaths attributed to the virus, including four in the past 24 hours.

Ontario is reporting a record-high 4,736 new cases of COVID-19. The province also says there were 29 more deaths linked to the virus. There are 1,932 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 659 patients in intensive care and 419 on a ventilator.


Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand.
Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Photo by Blair Gable/Reuters/File

Canada’s procurement minister says she is in the midst of negotiating new vaccine contracts to nail down supplies of vaccine booster shots if they’re needed next year.

“We are actively planning for 2022,” Anita Anand said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

She said Canada’s first priority remains getting doses now, and while the country remains well behind the United States, United Kingdom and several other countries, its vaccination pace has picked up significantly in the last month.

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Canadians agree with mandatory hotel quarantines, but few think they’re effective: Survey

Travellers await transportation to a COVID-19 quarantine hotel after arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Wednesday February 24, 2021.
Travellers await transportation to a COVID-19 quarantine hotel after arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Wednesday February 24, 2021. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post

A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute looked at Canadians’ attitudes towards travel during a pandemic, as well as the U.S. border closure.

It found that three in five Canadians see mandatory hotel quarantines for returning travellers as a “necessary measure.” However only 30 per cent believe the policy is actually effective at reducing the risk of COVID-19.

When it comes to the mandatory two-week quarantine, 80 per cent of respondents supported the measure. However more than one-third, 37 per cent, would like to see exemptions made for people who can prove they’re fully vaccinated.

On the U.S. border closure, half of Canadians said they’d be happy to see that closure remain until either the fall (25 per cent) or end of year (31 per cent).

In terms of returning to normal, 29 per cent of Canadians now say they think things will never be normal. The institute noted a correlation between those who say they won’t take the vaccine ad those who think things will never return to normal.

The survey polled 1,577 Canadian adults who are part of the Angus Reid Forum. While not a randomized sample, a probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


AHS orders boxing gym to stop holding group fitness classes

Sweat Science Boxing in Inglewood was photographed on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The business received a warning from Alberta Health Services for continuing to hold group fitness classes.
Sweat Science Boxing in Inglewood was photographed on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The business received a warning from Alberta Health Services for continuing to hold group fitness classes. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia

An AHS inspector ordered a southeast Calgary boxing gym to tighten up its COVID-19 precautions and to stop holding group adult fitness classes last Saturday.

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The inspector found that Sweat Science Boxing, located at 1406 9 Avenue S.E., was hosting a youth fitness class with kids and the coaches training closer together than the required 3 metres.

According to the inspector’s report, neither of the coaches were wearing suitable face coverings, and a manager confirmed that adult classes were still taking place.

Under the current Step 1 restrictions, youth group fitness activities are still allowed with certain precautions, but all indoor adult group fitness activities are paused.


Wednesday

Procurement minister says federal government has spent $8B on COVID vaccine deals

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand appears virtually before the House of Commons operations committee on April 14, 2021.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand appears virtually before the House of Commons operations committee on April 14, 2021. Photo by parlvu.parl.gc.ca

Procurement Minister Anita Anand revealed the government has spent $8 billion on vaccine contracts and defended the government’s overall performance getting shots delivered to Canadians at a House of Commons committee Wednesday.

Anand appeared before the House of Commons government operations committee and said the government has spent about $8 billion on the vaccine deals with seven different companies for hundreds of millions of total doses.

Read more.


Wednesday

Alberta administers its millionth does of vaccine

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Wednesday

High school and junior high students transitioning to at-home learning; eight more COVID deaths in Alberta

Bowness High School in N.W. Calgary on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Bowness High School in N.W. Calgary on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Students in Grades 7 to 12 at Calgary public and Catholic schools will temporarily shift to at-home learning for at least two weeks, the province announced Wednesday, as it reported more than 1,400 new COVID-19 cases across Alberta.

Read more.


Wednesday

Current oilsands outbreaks report 232 active cases

An aerial view of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) oilsands mining operation near Fort McKay, Alta.
An aerial view of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) oilsands mining operation near Fort McKay, Alta. Photo by Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal files

As of April 14, Alberta Health has identified 1,230 oilsands workers that have had COVID-19 in ongoing oilsands outbreaks in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region. There are 232 oilsands workers that are still active.

It is not known how many of these workers are commuters or local residents. A sick oilsands worker is reflected in local numbers if they are a resident of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. If a commuter tests positive in the RMWB or if contact tracing shows the virus was caught locally, that positive case is reflected in the their home community’s statistics.

These numbers do not include past outbreaks that have ended. A workplace outbreak ends after 30 days of no new cases. The numbers do not include oilsands workers that caught COVID-19 outside of a workplace outbreak.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) lists workplaces and schools that have ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, but does not include active and recovered numbers for each individual site. These numbers were obtained through a media request. RMWB Mayor Don Scott has called for this to change, while AHS says this function could be included in future updates.

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The company hit hardest has been Canadian Natural Resources, which has had 479 cases. The Horizon site has had 303 cases in this current outbreak, with 63 active and 240 recovered. Albian has had 157 cases, with 11 active and 146 recovered. Jackfish has had 19 cases, with 10 active and nine recovered.

Suncor follows, with 371 cases reported in current outbreaks. Suncor base plant, which has had 351 cases in this current outbreak, has 80 active cases. This is more active cases than any other site as of April 14.

The remaining numbers from ongoing oilsands outbreaks include:

  • Civeo Lynx Lodge: 23 cases (19 active, 4 recovered)
  • Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake site: 57 cases (4 active, 53 recovered)
  • Suncor Firebag Village: 8 cases (all recovered)
  • Suncor Mackay River: 12 cases (2 active, 10 recovered)

—Vincent McDermott, Fort McMurray Today


Wednesday

Grades 7 to 12 students move to at-home learning in Calgary

Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School in Calgary on Thursday.
Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School in Calgary on Thursday. Photo by Christopher Landry/Postmedia

Grades 7 to 12 in Calgary will be moving to at-home learning.

Alberta Education made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that students in Grades 7 to 12 in the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District will move to at-home learning for at least two weeks starting on April 19.

“While everyone’s preference is to learn in school, some school boards are dealing with operational pressures due to rising COVID-19 cases in the community,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in the press release. “The safety of students and staff is my top priority, which is why I am responding to the boards’ requests and respecting their autonomy. By having a clear process in place, we are giving them flexibility to move to at-home learning when necessary.”

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Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in the release that the province is seeing a “sharp rise in cases among school-aged Albertans.”

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“The greatest impacts of COVID-19 cases have been in the Grade 7-12 schools,” Calgary Board of Education board chair Marilyn Dennis said in the release. “Moving these students online will help to ensure learning continuity, address operational concerns and support the health and well-being of CBE students, staff and the Calgary community.”

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said in a press release that Premier Jason Kenney “clearly doesn’t have any idea what’s happening inside Alberta classrooms or communities.”

“He has failed to give Alberta schools the resources they need to keep classrooms safe,” she said. “The reasons the UCP gave for moving these students are exactly the factors we warned them about. Staff shortages, school closures, too many students in isolation, and community spread. All of these problems were foreseeable months ago, and Jason Kenney did nothing.”

Read more.


Wednesday

Indigenous-focused, large-scale COVID-19 immunization clinic opens in Calgary

A Siksika Health Services teepee is set up outside the new Indigenous Immunization Clinic at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel in Calgary on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
A Siksika Health Services teepee is set up outside the new Indigenous Immunization Clinic at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel in Calgary on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Photo by Christopher Landry/Postmedia

A new large-scale COVID-19 immunization clinic is addressing barriers to health care for Indigenous people by putting community and culture first.

The urban clinic opened its doors on Wednesday at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre in the city’s northeast.

It is the second clinic to open thanks to a coalition of Indigenous-led organizations, including the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Siksika Health Services, Okaki and other local partners.

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Read more.


Wednesday

1,412 new cases, eight deaths

The latest COVID-19 numbers for Alberta:

  • 1,412 new cases on 15,738 tests
  • 420 in hospital; 92 in ICUs
  • Eight additional deaths; 2,029 total
  • 15,569 active cases; 146,933 recovered
  • 778 new variant cases identified; variants are 52.6% of active cases

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There was no live update from chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Wednesday afternoon. The next live update is scheduled for Thursday.


Wednesday

COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Alberta

Rockyview Hospital in Calgary on April 5, 2021.
Rockyview Hospital in Calgary on April 5, 2021. Photo by Christopher Landry/Postmedia


Wednesday

Alberta doctors’ offices to start giving COVID-19 vaccines under new pilot program

Louise Smyth, 97, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Jess Britton, Registered nurse, in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021.
Louise Smyth, 97, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Jess Britton, Registered nurse, in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021. Photo by LEAH HENNEL/ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES

Ten physician clinics in Alberta will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients under a pilot project starting Monday.

Participating doctors’ offices will receive 200 initial doses of the Moderna vaccine and will contact patients directly to book appointments.

Two in each of the Alberta Health Services health zones – South, Calgary, Central, Edmonton and North – will take part in the pilot. The locations will not be released publicly to “prevent patient care at these clinics being affected by public interest,” the government said in a news release Wednesday.

Read more.


Wednesday

Calgary wastewater samples show recent spike in coronavirus

Auto-sampling device that will be used for COVID-19 monitoring in wastewater.
Auto-sampling device that will be used for COVID-19 monitoring in wastewater. Photo by Courtesy of ACWA

A project that charts the presence of the virus responsible for COVID-19 in Calgary sewage is showing a significant spike since mid-March.

The data, which is available in graph form on a public website, shows levels of the virus trending upward, and sample points higher than the previous highs seen in mid-December, when Calgary was in its second wave.

Read more.


Wednesday

Long road to recovery for the Calgary airport due to pandemic

Masked travellers arrive at the International terminal in YYC (Calgary International Airport) on Friday, January 29, 2021.
Masked travellers arrive at the International terminal in YYC (Calgary International Airport) on Friday, January 29, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

It’ll take years for a pandemic-grounded Calgary International Airport to recover from a devastating 2020, say its operators.

The airport expects even fewer passengers to move through its terminals this year than last – 5.1 million compared to 5.7 million in 2020 – a 68 per cent descent from a record 18 million recorded in 2019.

“The pandemic decimated demand for travel and erased 25 years of passenger growth at YYC,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority.

Read more.


Wednesday

GraceLife: How an Edmonton-area church became the centre of Alberta’s COVID-19 fight

A few in attendance tried to rip down the fencing as police stand their ground while a crowd of about 400 gathered outside GraceLife Church on the first Sunday after the closure west of the Edmonton city limits, April 11, 2021.
A few in attendance tried to rip down the fencing as police stand their ground while a crowd of about 400 gathered outside GraceLife Church on the first Sunday after the closure west of the Edmonton city limits, April 11, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Last June, GraceLife Church of Edmonton emerged from the first wave of COVID-19 like thousands of other Albertans: hopeful, a bit wary, ready to adapt to the new normal.

“Hello GraceLife family!” church elders wrote in a June 19, 2020, bulletin. Like countless faith groups, GraceLife had moved to online services at the pandemic’s outset. But with the Alberta government easing restrictions, the church opted — “after consideration, discussion, and prayer” — to reopen in-person worship that Sunday.

The bulletin laid out how church leaders decided to return to “nearly normal,” and the safety measures that would be taken to prevent outbreaks. Congregants were asked to refrain from hugs and handshakes. People with symptoms were asked to stay home. The church balcony would be opened for those wanting to socially distance, while the nursery would remain closed.

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