News

COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Jan. 11


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

Article content

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.

Advertisement

Article content


What’s happening now

Advertisement

Article content



Help us tell the COVID-19 story in Calgary

Just when it seemed like things were getting back to normal, Omicron has changed everything. We’d like to hear from you on this latest wave of the virus.

  • If you are a healthcare worker, how does Omicron compare with past COVID-19 waves?
  • How have you coped with testing requirements and rapid test kits?
  • Is your employer or school asking for a written doctor’s note in place of a provincial PCR test?
  • Are you having a difficult time proving you had COVID-19?

Contact us by sending an email to reply@calgaryherald.com or send your comments via this form .


Quebec to force unvaccinated to pay ‘significant’ financial penalty

Quebec Premier Francois Legault.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault. Photo by Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press/File

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says adult residents who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be charged a financial penalty.

Legault made the announcement to reporters today in Montreal, adding that the levy will only apply to people who do not qualify for medical exemptions.

It is the first time a government in Canada has announced a financial penalty for people who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Legault says the amount of the penalty hasn’t been decided but will be “significant.”

Read more.

Advertisement

Article content


An 84-year-old man in India gets COVID vaccine 12 times, claiming it cures joint pain

Brahamdev Mandal
Brahamdev Mandal Photo by Twitter

A jab-happy pensioner illegally took twelve doses of the COVID-19 vaccine before police caught up with him.

Brahamdev Mandal, an 84-year-old resident in Bihar who received 11 doses in roughly ten months, faces a slew of charges, according to a complaint made by Primary Health Care (PHC) in Puraini.

Mandal used the ID cards of people who needed the lifesaving medicine on some occasions and would lie to health officials, according to the complaint. The retired postman booked dates at different vaccine centres, including two with 30 minutes of each other in April.

Read more.


Too soon to treat COVID-19 like flu as Omicron spreads: WHO

This photograph taken on March 5, 2021 shows the flag of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
This photograph taken on March 5, 2021 shows the flag of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Advertisement

Article content

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is on track to infect more than half of Europeans, but it should not yet be seen as a flu-like endemic illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Europe saw more than 7 million newly-reported cases in the first week of 2022, more than doubling over a two-week period, WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing.

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50% of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next 6-8 weeks,” Kluge said, referring to a research center at the University of Washington.

Read more .


City council hears update on COVID-19 in Calgary

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Susan Henry is giving Calgary city councillors an update on the COVID-19 situation in Calgary.

Advertisement

Article content

All areas of Calgary have more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 of population, which is the highest active case rathe the city has ever seen.

The city says 94 per cent of employees are vaccinated, while 360 employees are in the rapid testing program, which texts unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated people.

Follow city hall reporters Meghan Potkins and Madeline Smith on Titter for all the latest from this meeting.

Advertisement

Article content

Advertisement

Article content


Monday

Omicron tsunami confines PCR testing to those at high risk: Hinshaw

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia file

A tidal wave of Omicron COVID-19 infections that’s likely 10 times the known case numbers has pushed the province to limit PCR testing to high-risk individuals and settings, Alberta’s top doctor said Monday.

The highly-infectious variant has overwhelmed the province’s normal testing ability and those who don’t fall under the more vulnerable categories should cancel their tests if already booked, said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“The demand for PCR testing has pushed our testing system beyond its capacity,” she said, adding those without high-risk conditions will be turned away at testing sites starting immediately.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

‘Significant challenge’: Calgary school boards report hundreds of teacher vacancies on first day back

James Fowler High School students head out during the lunch break on the first day back in class after an extended Christmas break on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
James Fowler High School students head out during the lunch break on the first day back in class after an extended Christmas break on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

As students and staff returned to in-person classes after an extended winter break on Monday, Calgary schools worked to bring in substitute teachers and shuffle resources to cover for absences.

Five classes of Grade 6 and 7 students at two public schools were notified ahead of their first day back they would be starting instruction online due to staffing issues, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) said in a statement. There were 681 vacant teaching positions at public schools, with 208 going unfilled by class time Monday morning.

As well, the CBE recorded 436 support staff absences on Monday and wasn’t able to fill 99 of those positions.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

Calgary Transit sees staff shortages, service reductions amid Omicron wave

Passengers are seen at the Anderson LRT Station along the city’s Red Line on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022.
Passengers are seen at the Anderson LRT Station along the city’s Red Line on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

The highly transmissible Omicron variant is starting to have an impact on transit service across Calgary.

Public transit has been running at around 85 per cent of pre-COVID levels as fewer people commute to work and events are cancelled during the pandemic. But Calgary Transit spokesperson Stephen Tauro said Monday that staff absences forced further reductions, down to about 80 per cent of pre-COVID service.

Experts have been raising concerns that the Omicron-driven fifth wave could pose a serious problem for front-line services across the province. With COVID infection and transmission rates higher than they have ever been in Alberta, there’s a major risk for numerous workers being off sick or forced to isolate at the same time.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.



Monday

Opposition MPs call for emergency probe of health agency’s use of Canadians’ mobile data during COVID

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has also been asked to look into the Public Health Agency of Canada’s collecting of cell phone data.
Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has also been asked to look into the Public Health Agency of Canada’s collecting of cell phone data. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

OTTAWA — All three main opposition parties are calling for a review of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s plan to continue using anonymized cellphone location data of Canadians to track travel patterns during the pandemic.

Conservative MPs called PHAC’s actions “extremely alarming,” and asked for an emergency meeting of the House of Commons ethics committee, a request supported by the Bloc Québécois.

NDP ethics critic Matthew Green said it was an “intrusion on the privacy of Canadians, who deserve to know what kind of information the government” is and plans on collecting.

The Public Health Agency is seeking to extend its use of the de-identified, anonymized data. It posted a request for proposals in December, asking for a contract for a third party to “provide access to cell-tower/operator location data to assist in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for other public health applications.” The contractor would provide “de-identified cell-tower based location data from January 1, 2019.” The contract ends on 2023, with the option to renew for another three years.

Advertisement

Article content

The first contract to track the data expired in the fall.

Read more.


Monday

Alberta reports 17,577 new cases since Friday

Here are updated COVID-19 numbers released by Alberta Health Services this afternoon.

  • There have been 17,577 new COVID-19 cases reported since Friday.
  • Six deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been reported to AHS over that period. The provincial total is now 3,344 since the start of the pandemic.
  • There are now 14,078 cases of the Omicron variant identified in Alberta, including 7,270 in the Calgary zone.
  • There are 635 people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 131 since Friday. There are 72 people in ICU, an increase of eight since Friday. Hinshaw said during her update the rise in hospitalizations is due to a change in how the statistic is reported. They now correctly relate the kind of care being provided in hospitals.
  • There are a reported 57,332 active COVID cases in the province, an increase of 13,918 since Friday. There are a reported 27,837 active cases in the Calgary zone, an increase of 7,204 since Friday.
  • The province completed 45,162 tests over the weekend. Alberta currently has a positivity rate of 38.3 per cent.

Advertisement

Article content


Monday

Calgary sees massive disparity in pediatric vaccine uptake within city

Staff prepare vaccinations at a pop-up clinic at Village Square Leisure Centre in northeast Calgary on June 6, 2021.
Staff prepare vaccinations at a pop-up clinic at Village Square Leisure Centre in northeast Calgary on June 6, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Wildly varying uptake for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines across Calgary shows the province’s rollout of the shots has been inequitable, community leaders say.

While 39 per cent of Alberta children aged five to 11 have now received at least one dose of vaccination against the novel coronavirus, local geographic data reveals a significant disparity in uptake rates in different parts of Calgary. In Calgary Elbow, 64.2 per cent of these children have received their first dose, but that number drops to 31 per cent in the upper northeast, 22 per cent in the lower northeast and 23.8 per cent in the east.

The trend is also seen in Edmonton, where pediatric vaccine rates sit at 63.4 per cent in Edmonton Twin Brooks, compared to only 20.7 per cent in the city’s Abbotsfield region.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

Quebec public health director resigns, cities erosion of public opinion over measures

Horacio Arruda.
Horacio Arruda. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

MONTREAL — Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, tendered his resignation on Monday, citing an erosion in public trust as the province grapples with record hospitalizations during a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Francois Legault accepted the offer, with Arruda’s departure confirmed to The Canadian Press by the premier’s office.

His resignation comes as the province is in the midst of a surge of COVID-19 cases fueled by the more transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

On Monday, Quebec reported 2,554 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 — a new pandemic high — as well as 248 intensive care cases. The province has reported 11,966 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

COVID-19 derails trial of Calgary murder suspect

The Calgary Courts Centre was photographed on May 3, 2021.
The Calgary Courts Centre was photographed on May 3, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Despite the near-herculean efforts of lawyers and a Calgary judge to keep a city murder suspect’s case on the rails, COVID-19 finally won out on Monday.

The trial of Robert Daignault, which was initially to begin last Tuesday, was officially adjourned by Justice Robert Hall after it was revealed a COVID test Daignault took last week came back positive.

The start of Daignault’s trial was initially delayed when officials at the Calgary Remand Centre said his unit was placed under pandemic isolation after contact with a COVID-positive individual.

Read more.


Monday

Lawyer for anti-masker Kevin J. Johnston trying to come up with release plan after he was arrested trying to flee the country

Kevin J. Johnston, left, shouts at journalists near GraceLife Church on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
Kevin J. Johnston, left, shouts at journalists near GraceLife Church on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Photo by Postmedia

Advertisement

Article content

Anti-masker and former fringe mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston will spend another night in jail while his lawyer tries to draft a release plan for him.

Toronto defence counsel Ian McCuaig appeared briefly by telephone in Calgary provincial court on Monday on behalf of Johnston, who was arrested last week trying to flee to the U.S. to seek “political asylum.”

McCuaig told provincial court Judge Paul Mason he needed to speak to Calgary chief Crown prosecutor Peter Mackenzie about a potential release plan for Johnston, who has been charged with being unlawfully at large for failing to complete his weekends-only jail term.

Read more.


Kenney condemns anti-vax protest targeting Mayor Gondek’s residence: ‘Just wrong’

Mayor Jyoti Gondek, photographed in Calgary on Nov. 19, 2021.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek, photographed in Calgary on Nov. 19, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Advertisement

Article content

Public officials are condemning the actions of anti-vaccine protesters who targeted Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s home on Sunday.

Official estimates suggest 35 to 40 people assembled on the sidewalk and street adjacent to Gondek’s house, holding placards and chanting slogans.

Videos of the protest circulating on social media captured protestors chanting “fake mayor” and “freedom over fear” in the direction of the home.

So far Gondek has not commented publicly on the incident, but the mayor’s office confirmed to Postmedia that Calgary police responded to the incident appropriately.

In a statement Monday, the Calgary Police Service said they are investigating and working closely with City of Calgary security officials.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

Omicron was in Nova Scotia wastewater before it was identified in South Africa

A pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Nov. 23, 2020.
A pop-up COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Nov. 23, 2020. Photo by Andrew Vaughan /Canadian Press

New data from researchers at Dalhousie University show that Omicron was in Nova Scotia wastewater weeks before it was identified by the province — and even before the new COVID-19 variant was reported by South Africa.

Graham Gagnon, professor, and director of the Centre for Water Resource Studies confirmed in an email that: “Our team detected Omicron , retrospectively, in Nova Scotia wastewater in mid-November and will be able to provide further information in the future.”

The first case of Omicron in Nova Scotia was confirmed on Dec. 13, just a few weeks after it was reported in South Africa on Nov. 24.

Read more.


Monday

U.S. CDC advises Americans to avoid travel to Canada

File photo: Road that runs along the international border between Montana and Alberta. Sweetgrass, Montana, USA on the left and Coutts, Alberta, Canada on Friday March 20, 2020.
File photo: Road that runs along the international border between Montana and Alberta. Sweetgrass, Montana, USA on the left and Coutts, Alberta, Canada on Friday March 20, 2020. Photo by Mike Drew/Postmedia

Advertisement

Article content

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday advised against travel to Canada because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The CDC elevated its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High” for Canada, telling Americans they should avoid travel to its northern neighbour. The CDC currently lists about 80 destinations worldwide at Level Four. It also raised the island of Curaçao to Level Four on Monday.

In November, the U.S. lifted restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals, ending historic curbs on non-essential travellers in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more.


Monday

COVID hospitalizations nearing record highs in several provinces

COVID-19 cases are threatening to overwhelm hospitals in several parts of Canada, with hospitalizations nearing or reaching record highs in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

Former CEO of the University Health Network and Ontario deputy health minister Dr. Bob Bell says every Western country dealing with COVID’s fast-spreading Omicron variant has a stressed hospital system right now.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

Q and A: Emergency room doctor on how fifth wave, COVID-19 Omicron variant is affecting hospitalizations

Dr. Shazma Mithani poses for a photo in Edmonton on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.
Dr. Shazma Mithani poses for a photo in Edmonton on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

Hospitalizations in Alberta have grown more than 50 per cent over two weeks , as the province begins to feel the effects of the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Omicron variant.

According to the latest provincial data, there are 504 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, compared to 324 two weeks ago.

Reporter Anna Junker spoke with Dr. Shazma Mithani, an emergency room physician who practices at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital on current hospitalization trends and what to expect from the fifth wave.

Click here to read the interview.


Monday

High Performance Rodeo cancelled due to COVID concerns

Justin Miller in Pearle Harbour at High Performance Rodeo.
Justin Miller in Pearle Harbour at High Performance Rodeo. Photo by Tanja-Tiziana /jpg

Advertisement

Article content

 

One Yellow Rabbit has cancelled the annual High Performance Rodeo, which was to feature more than 75 artists presenting more than 20 shows in downtown Calgary.

The festival was to begin on Jan. 18 and run until Feb. 6 at 10 different venues. In a statement, the theatre company said the decision was made “despite falling within the current government regulations for COVID-19.”

“While, of course, we are deeply disappointed, the safety of our community is our top priority.”

Ticketholders are encouraged to hold onto tickets for now while postponement options are explored. The festival could reschedule individual events or the festival as a whole.

Read More.


Monday

‘Deltacron’ is a new COVID-19 strain and not a lab error, Cypriot scientist says

It remains unknown whether ‘Deltacron’ is a more contagious or dangerous strain than its component variants, said Leonidos Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus.
It remains unknown whether ‘Deltacron’ is a more contagious or dangerous strain than its component variants, said Leonidos Kostrikis, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cyprus. Photo by POSTMEDIA ARCHIVES

Advertisement

Article content

A Cypriot scientist has defended his discovery in 25 patients of a new strain of Covid-19 that combines characteristics of the delta and omicron variants.

Other scientists have speculated that Leonidos Kostrikis’s findings are a result of laboratory contamination.

But Kostrikis told Bloomberg in an emailed statement Sunday that the cases he has identified “indicate an evolutionary pressure to an ancestral strain to acquire these mutations and not a result of a single recombination event.”

Eleven of the 25 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 and 14 remained among the general public.

Read more.

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *