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

Calgary·THE LATEST

A verification app to check for proof of vaccination with a QR code is now available for Alberta businesses and organizations to download.

Alberta released a QR code scanning app for businesses to verify vaccine records

A staff member works at an intensive care unit at an Alberta hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincially, ICU capacity is at 80 per cent, including additional surge beds. (AHS)

The latest on COVID-19 in Alberta:

  • The Alberta government has released an app to scan and verify QR code vaccine records. The AB COVID Records Verifier app is available to download on Apple and Android devices. 
  • Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine records with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney thanked those who followed the rules and stuck to small or outdoor gatherings over Thanksgiving.
  • Alberta reported 3,358 new cases of COVID-19 over the holiday long weekend:
    • 1,085 new cases out of 13,987 tests on Friday.
    • 1,039 new cases out of 11,637 tests on Saturday.
    • 628 new cases out of 7,720 tests on Sunday.
    • 606 new cases out of 7,333 tests on Monday. 
  • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 15,295.
  • A total of 2,863  Albertans have died of COVID, with 33 new deaths reported over the weekend. One of those who died was a 14-year-old boy who lived in the province’s central zone.
  • The positivity rate was 8.3 per cent.
  • There were 1,053 people being treated for COVID in hospital, of those, 242 are in ICU. 
  • For the first time in months, Alberta is reporting an R-value below 1. The R-value is the average number of COVID-19 infections transmitted by each diagnosed case.
  • An R-value below 1 means transmission is no longer growing. Province-wide, the R-value for Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 is 0.92, with a confidence interval between 0.90 and 0.94. In Edmonton zone, the R-value is 0.86 (0.83-0.90 confidence interval), while in Calgary zone it’s 0.93 (0.92 to 0.97). The rest of Alberta is 0.94 (0.92-0.97 confidence interval). 
  • 293,475 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.​​​​
  • Alberta Health Services said Saturday that its scientific advisory group has updated its review into using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. AHS said existing studies have problems and the available evidence doesn’t deem it safe. 
  • AHS said studies to date into using ivermectin, predominantly used in livestock species like horses and cows to control intestinal parasites and some skin parasites, on the novel coronavirus have inadequate controls and flawed design.
  • On Thursday, Hinshaw said Alberta hospitals have seen people with extreme adverse effects after taking ivermectin.
  • There were 300 total patients in Alberta’s ICUs on Tuesday, according to AHS, most of whom were COVID positive. 
  • There are currently 376 ICU beds in Alberta, including 203 additional surge spaces (a 117 per cent increase over a baseline of 173).
  • Provincially, ICU capacity is at 80 per cent. Without the additional spaces, provincial ICU admissions would be at 173 per cent of capacity, AHS said.
  • With many surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19, patients and health-care workers are worried about a backlog and long wait times for surgeries and other forms of treatment for gender diverse people.
  • Alberta Health Services said on Sept. 17 that the only surgeries happening in the province are those that must be done within a three-day window.
  • More than 50 Alberta schools are contending with active COVID-19 outbreaks, while more than 750 other schools are on alert for clusters of infection. 

WATCH | Premier Jason Kenney announces launch of vaccination proof scanner:

Proof of vaccination scanner launches in Alberta

17 hours ago

Premier Jason Kenney announced that after Nov. 15, the scannable QR code will become the only acceptable record of vaccination. Health minister Jason Copping encouraged everyone to get their QR code vaccination record. 1:47

The latest on Alberta’s COVID-19 response: ​​​​​​

  • The City of Calgary is opening applications for a new grant program for local business operators, owners and entities that are impacted by the Provincial Restrictions Exemption Program. The Calgary Business Support Grant will give $2,000 per physical permanent premise.
  • Two health professionals say Alberta’s health system can’t afford a post-Thanksgiving spike of COVID-19 infections. 
  • New COVID-19 modelling shows Alberta may have finally reached its pandemic peak, and if the province leaves restrictions in place and continues to increase vaccination rates, infections and hospitalizations will continue to decline.
  • The City of Calgary will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination by Nov. 1. 
  • This applies to all City of Calgary employees, regardless of workplace or worksite location, including those who are remote working or have a telework agreement in place.
  • The Calgary Catholic School Division board of trustees voted in favour of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees. 
  • The vaccine mandate applies to all all staff, including teachers, educational assistants, support staff, and custodial. 
  • The province announced new measures to protect children and youth from COVID-19 on Oct. 5. Contact tracing in schools will be phased in, outbreaks will be declared in schools, and rapid-test kits will be made available for parents to test younger children.
  • The Calgary Board of Education will now require mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 for employees, volunteers and partners.
  • Politicians and staff at the Alberta Legislature will all be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time the sitting resumes on Oct. 25, government House leader Jason Nixon said Tuesday.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces sent eight critical care nurses to help in Alberta’s intensive care units. Those nurses are set to begin working at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital. 
  • AHS says discussions are ongoing with the Canadian Red Cross but at least five nurses will be deployed to support acute care services at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie.
  • AHS says another eight Red Cross nurses will be allocated to Central Zone, with four supporting the COVID-19 response at rural facilities. The other four will be in Red Deer, with two supporting the emergency department at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and two assisting with COVID-19 testing. Start dates are still being finalized and discussions are continuing with the Red Cross about additional staff that may be available.
  • Alberta public sector workers will soon be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • The policy, approved by the province’s COVID-19 cabinet committee will affect 25,500 provincial employees who must all submit proof of full vaccination by Nov. 30.
  • Employees can be exempted if they obtain an accommodation based on the Alberta Human Rights Act or if they choose to produce a negative PCR test result, obtained at employee’s expense and done within 72 hours of every scheduled workday.
  • Kenney also said he asked for an inventory of the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine, noting that some vaccine-hesitant Albertans have expressed a willingness to take this version. The Government of Canada has committed to securing the vaccines, but currently have no supply.

WATCH | ICU stay changes Calgary man’s mind about COVID vaccine:

ICU stay changes Calgary man’s mind about COVID vaccine

15 days ago

Bernie Cook was hesitant to get the vaccine when he caught COVID. His sickness gave him first-hand experience through one of Alberta’s crowded ICUs. Now he’s warning others to take action to avoid the same fate. 2:23

  • Kenney’s government imposed a voluntary vaccine passport system that took effect Sept. 20 to combat the fourth wave of COVID-19.
  • Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part, will have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing (more details are provided below).
  • Starting Oct. 25, proof of two doses or a negative test will be required for entry to places operating under the restrictions exemption program. Up until then, one dose or a negative test will suffice.
  • Those who want to show a negative COVID-19 test rather than a proof of vaccination must have one that was paid for privately, not via Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.
  • Kenney said on Oct. 12 that Albertans should expect the vaccine passport system to be in place at least until early next year.
  • A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government’s website

The latest on vaccines:

  • 64.7 per cent of the province’s total population have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 76 per cent of eligible Albertans.
  • Out of the province’s total population, 72.6 per cent have received at least one dose, or 85.3 per cent of those eligible.
  • Canada-wide, 76.8 per cent of the total population have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 71.6 per cent of the total population are fully vaccinated, according to the CBC’s vaccine tracker. Among those eligible, 87.7 per cent have had one dose and 81.8 per cent are fully vaccinated. 
  • Alberta is expanding the number of immunocompromised people who are eligible for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The full list of eligible people can be found on the province’s website
  • In addition, mRNA doses — that’s Pfizer or Moderna — are available to Albertans travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors vaccinated with mixed doses.
  • Dr. Hinshaw says pregnant people are at high risk of very serious illness and are urging them to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Tuesday:

  • Edmonton zone: 3,531.
  • Calgary zone: 3,819.
  • North zone: 3,075.
  • Central zone: 3,180.
  • South zone: 1,661.
  • Unknown: 29.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

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