Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Jan. 13

The latest:

  • Alberta recorded another grim milestone on Tuesday, once again surpassing its record for daily deaths in a single day with 38 new deaths reported. A total of 1,345 people have died of COVID-19 in Alberta. 
  • Alberta reported 652 new cases of COVID-19 out of 13,220 tests on Tuesday, up from 639 new cases the day before, for a positivity rate of 6.8 per cent. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said it wasn’t clear why fewer people are being tested as there is capacity in the system, and reiterated that it’s important to be tested and isolate if you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms. 
  • There are 819 people in hospital, including 132 in intensive care. 
  • Alberta is improving its contact tracing system, Hinshaw said Tuesday, with high-priority cases now being contacted within 24 hours of a positive test. The percentage of cases with an unknown source is now down to 47 per cent, after spending much of the last few months above 80 per cent.
  • Calgary hotels have been asked if they would promote Alberta’s contact-tracing app in exchange for eased restrictions on the hospitality industry.
  • Alberta Health confirmed there are now five cases in the province of the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K., after the virus spread within a household. There remains one case in the province of the variant first found in South Africa. The province has yet to say which region any of the variant cases are in.
  • One school in the province is on alert, with one case of COVID-19.
  • Amid lingering public anger over several UCP MLAs travelling outside the province or country during the pandemic, the whereabouts of two MLAs — Drew Barnes and Miranda Rosin — have still not been confirmed, despite a dozen inquiries.
  • As of Monday, 52,318 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. 
  • The province announced Monday it will immediately expand its vaccination program to include all paramedics and emergency medical responders, but Kenney said supplies are already precarious.
  • The province has now administered a total of 46,791 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta over the past month, and is expected to receive 41,475 doses this week. 
  • Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the federal government is not blocking provinces from trying to procure vaccine on their own. She made the comment after Kenney said Alberta will use up its current supply as early as next week and plans to try to strike agreements with manufacturers that aren’t locked into agreements with the federal government. 
  • Albertans are more likely than people in any other province to say they won’t ever take the COVID-19 vaccine, and less likely to say they’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available, a new Angus Reid poll suggests.
  • A health-care aide described as a fighter with unyielding dedication to her patients is the fourth health-care worker in Alberta to die of COVID-19. Rose Vandelannoite died of complications from the disease on Sunday, her union wrote in a memorial post on Twitter. She was 63.
  • Alberta school children returned to in-class learning on Monday. In November, junior and senior high students shifted to learning at home while elementary-age students remained at school for in-person learning.
  • A High River woman has filed a formal complaint asking police to investigate potential criminal negligence in the death of her father, marking the first known instance in Canada of police investigating a workplace-related COVID-19 death. Benito Quesada worked at the Cargill meat processing plant in the Alberta town, where at least 950 staff — nearly half the workforce — tested positive for COVID-19 by early May in what remains the largest workplace outbreak in Canada.

(Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

  • An Innisfail barbershop that reopened in spite of COVID restrictions now faces closure and daily fines.
  • Almost 1.5% of the participants in Alberta’s pilot program aimed at shortening the quarantine time of international travellers, and who were reporting no symptoms, actually had COVID-19, figures reveal.
  • Police and Alberta Health Services responded to a southeast Calgary church on Sunday, after the pastor continued to encourage congregants to break public health rules following a fine and health inspection order. 
  • Here are more of the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

More details on what you need to know in Alberta:

Alberta recorded another grim milestone on Tuesday, once again surpassing its record in a single day with 38 new deaths reported. A total of 1,345 people have died. 

Alberta reported 652 new cases of COVID-19 out of 13,220 tests on Tuesday (a positivity rate of 6.8 per cent). Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said it wasn’t clear why fewer people are being tested as there is capacity in the system, and reiterated that it’s important to be tested and isolate if you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms. 

There are 819 people in hospital, including 132 in intensive care. 

There are a total of 13,220 active cases, down from 13,917 on Monday.

Alberta is improving its contact tracing system, Hinshaw said on Tuesday, with high-priority cases now being contacted with 24 hours of a positive test. The percentage of cases with an unknown source is now down to 47 per cent, after spending much of the past few months above 80 per cent.

The province announced Monday it will immediately expand its vaccination program to include all paramedics and emergency medical responders.

Premier Jason Kenney says the province believes it can reach the goal of vaccinating 50,000 Albertans per week by the end of the month.


Some United Conservative Party MLAs have come under fire recently for travelling outside the province or country during the pandemic, but two weeks after the first vacation was confirmed, there was still no public accounting of where the remainder were during the holiday break. 

Many elected officials have posted statements on social media or responded to constituents’ queries about where they spent the holidays.

In the absence of a complete accounting, CBC News asked the caucuses where each member was during the holiday season and followed up with individual MLAs. 

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said none of her MLAs left Alberta. Neither the premier’s office nor the UCP caucus responded to requests for a full list of where their members were.

Two MLAs’ whereabouts (Drew Barnes and Miranda Rosin) have still not been confirmed, despite a dozen requests made to the UCP caucus, the constituency offices and directly to the officials over the span of a week. 


Many hotel rooms have been sitting empty amid the pandemic, and now Calgary hotels are being asked if they’d be willing to help promote the province’s contact-tracing app if the province were to ease public-health restrictions on the industry. (Thomas Daigle/CBC, Dave Rae/CBC)

The Calgary Hotel Association is asking its members how they’d feel about promoting the Alberta government’s ABTraceTogether app in exchange for fewer restrictions on the hospitality industry — including potentially making installation of the contact-tracing app mandatory for some guests.

A survey was sent to about 60 member hotels on Monday, said association president Sol Zia, and the association plans to gather feedback until the end of the week. 

Zia said no decisions have been made and the industry is in “really, really early discussions” with the provincial government, which raised the idea.

“It was proposed, as a condition/concession, if Calgary hotels would consider promoting the installation of the Alberta Trace Together app at registration/check-in,” the survey explains.

The survey asks hotel owners and operators for their thoughts on how the provincial contact-tracing app could be paired with a future reopening of more services in the hard-hit hospitality sector.


Almost 1.5 per cent of the participants in Alberta’s pilot program aimed at shortening the quarantine time of international travellers, and who were reporting no symptoms, actually had COVID-19, figures reveal.

Kenney recently described that result as a success, noting that 1.48 per cent of roughly 20,000 people arriving in the province tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, saying it compares with an overall positivity rate in the province of around seven per cent.

However, that’s among a group of test subjects who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a known case. The pilot program, by contrast, specifically excludes these types of people. To participate, travellers must declare that they have no symptoms and no known exposures.

That means comparing the two figures is “absolutely apples to oranges,” said Dr. Craig Jenne, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.

“As a number it seems low, but when we look at it in context … I thought it was actually quite high,” he said, noting international flights can carry hundreds of passengers,” he said.


Failure to comply could result in fines up to $5,000 per day for the Bladez To Fadez Barbershop in Innisfail, says Alberta Health Services. (Video: Bladez To Fadez Barbershop/Facebook) 4:33

The owner of an Alberta barbershop is vowing to stay open and fight the consequences in court, despite being issued a verbal order from Alberta Health Services to close immediately for violating provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s just not fair to the public or to business owners,” Natalie Klein, the owner of Bladez to Fadez Barbershop in Innisfail told the Calgary Eyeopener.

AHS confirmed that Bladez to Fadez had been issued an order to close and said failure to comply with a closure order could result in fines up to $5,000 per day.

Klein said it is unfair to allow big-box stores to stay open while forcing salons to remain closed, and said that she is in deep financial trouble. 

“Financially, there is no money left, you know we are seeing business owners who are going to use food banks to feed their families, you know, and this needs to end — and I am definitely one of those.”


Ariana Quesada, 16, holds up a photo of her father Benito Quesada in front of the RCMP detachment in High River, Alta. Her father died after becoming one of hundreds of workers at Cargill’s High River meat-processing facility to contract COVID-19. The company is now the subject of a police investigation. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Ariana Quesada, 16, walked into the RCMP detachment in High River, Alta., on Jan. 8 and filed a formal complaint asking police to investigate potential criminal negligence in the death of her father.

Benito Quesada, a 51-year-old immigrant from Mexico supporting a wife and four children, was hospitalized with COVID-19 in mid-April, one of hundreds of workers at the town’s Cargill meat plant infected with the coronavirus.

He had been in a coma and on a ventilator when he died on May 7. His family had been barred from visiting — except to say goodbye.

At least 950 staff at the Cargill plant — nearly half its workforce — tested positive for COVID-19 by early May in what remains the largest workplace outbreak in Canada.  

The Quesadas are demanding accountability from Cargill, alleging the company didn’t do enough to protect Benito from the coronavirus.

Family prompts COVID-19 police probe into Alberta meat plant — Canada’s largest workplace outbreak. 0:59


Police and Alberta Health Services responded to a southeast Calgary church on Jan. 10, after the pastor continued to encourage congregants to break public health rules following a fine and health inspection order. 

Pastor Tim Stephens wrote in an emailed newsletter to Fairview Baptist Church congregants on Wednesday that he had received a $1,200 fine from Calgary bylaw officers for violating public health orders. 

“I addressed the regulations theologically, scientifically, legally, and politically. I knew that receiving a fine would be a real possibility. Having received one now, the course is unchanged,” he wrote, adding that he would not be following the restrictions and reducing capacity to ensure physical distancing or enforcing mask use within the church.

There are currently more than 5,000 active cases of COVID-19 in Calgary, more than 37,000 people in the city have recovered and 407 have died.

The city’s R-value is 1.02, meaning that each person who contracts COVID-19 will infect more than one other person, on average. 

Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in southeast Calgary was issued a public health order, after an inspection found almost no attendees or church staff wearing masks or distancing. (Fairview Baptist Church/YouTube)


Some Calgary veterinarians are seeing a spike in kennel cough of up to 50 per cent more than normal.

“Kennel cough is not a new thing in dogs, but we definitely have seen an increased incidence this past year,” veterinarian Jenefer Stillion told the Calgary Eyeopener.

“It’s probably not a simple reason, but some things that may be contributing include a lot more people spending time with their dogs right now.”

Stillion, the medical director at Fish Creek Pet Hospital, says kennel cough is a term used to group together the different organisms that can cause an infection of the upper respiratory tract or windpipe, leaving dogs with that distinctive dry, honking cough.

Uncomplicated kennel cough is not a serious condition, and most dogs get better within 10 days to two weeks. 


Rose Vandelannoite died of COVID-19 complications on Sunday. (Rose Vandelannoite/Facebook)

A health-care aide described as a fighter with unyielding dedication to her patients is the fourth health-care worker in Alberta to die of COVID-19.

Rose Vandelannoite died of complications from the disease on Sunday, her union wrote in a memorial post on Twitter. She was 63.

She is among 1,307 Albertans who have died from COVID-19.

Vandelannoite, who worked for more than 10 years at Summerwood Village Retirement Home in Sherwood Park, outside Edmonton, was described as a dogged advocate for her colleagues and the people she served.

Vandelannoite is the fourth health-care worker to die from COVID-19. The death of a Calgary-area doctor, a man in his 70s, was reported last week. Alberta health officials said the physician was not infected in the workplace. 

The two other workers reported dead from the disease were employed in long-term care facilities. 


Click on the map below to zoom in or out on specific local geographic areas in Alberta and find out more about COVID-19 there:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as of Tuesday:

  • Calgary zone: 4,778, down from 4,958 reported on Monday (37,937 recovered).
  • Edmonton zone: 5,042, down from 5,441 (42,042 recovered).
  • North zone: 1,636, down from 1,668 (6,779 recovered).
  • South zone: 308, up from 307 (4,927 recovered). 
  • Central zone: 1,394, down from 1,472 (6,378 recovered).
  • Unknown: 62, down from 71 (115 recovered).

Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean


  • For the latest on what’s happening in the rest of Canada and around the world on Monday, see here.

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