COVID-19 Update: 1,351 new cases, one death | Alberta doctors call for lockdown | 15 UCP MLAs oppose latest restrictions

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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Wednesday

Sixteen UCP MLAs say Kenney’s latest COVID-19 restrictions move Alberta ‘backwards’

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Government caucus members are publicly criticizing Alberta Premier Jason Kenney for COVID-19 restrictions they say move the province backwards.

In a public letter published online Wednesday, 16 UCP MLAs representing mostly-rural ridings said closing dine-in service in restaurants and lowering capacity for retail stores and gyms is the “wrong decision,” even as COVID-19 variant cases surge.

“We have heard from our constituents, and they want us to defend their livelihoods and freedoms as Albertans. For months, we have raised these concerns at the highest levels of government and unfortunately, the approach of the government has remained the same,” the letter said.

The letter is signed by Speaker of the House Nathan Cooper, former municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard, Michaela Glasgo, Miranda Rosin, Todd Loewen, Angela Pitt, Drew Barnes, Jason Stephan, Roger Reid, Nate Horner, Glenn van Dijken, Ron Orr, Dave Hanson, RJ Sigurdson, Mark Smith and Garth Roswell.

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Wednesday

Alberta reports 1,351 new cases of COVID-19, active cases top 11,000

Calgarians get tested for COVID-19 at the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Calgarians get tested for COVID-19 at the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Alberta reported 1,351 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — the highest recorded in a single day since New Year’s Eve.

The new cases come the day after the province reimposed a number of restrictions.

Variant cases are driving the growth in active cases, as variant strains represent 43.2 per cent of Alberta’s 11,464 active cases with the addition of 575 variant cases detected Tuesday. The 1,351 new cases came from about 14,000 tests for a positivity rate of 9.6 per cent.

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This is the highest number of new cases logged in a single day since Alberta reported 1,300 on Dec. 31. At that time there were about 14,000 active cases.

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Wednesday

1,351 new cases, one death

The latest COVID-19 numbers for Alberta:

  • 1,351 new cases on 14,051 tests
  • 333 in hospital; 79 in ICUs
  • One additional death; 2,002 total
  • 11,464 active cases; 142,010 recovered
  • 575 new variant cases; variants are 43.2% of active cases

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There was no live update from chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Wednesday afternoon.

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Wednesday

Alberta physicians say latest restrictions are insufficient to quell COVID-19, call for lockdown

ICU physician Dr. Daniel Niven was photographed outside the Peter Lougheed Centre on Thursday, March 11, 2021. The flags outside the hospital were at half-mast as part of the National Day of Observance to remember those who have died as a result of COVID-19.
ICU physician Dr. Daniel Niven was photographed outside the Peter Lougheed Centre on Thursday, March 11, 2021. The flags outside the hospital were at half-mast as part of the National Day of Observance to remember those who have died as a result of COVID-19. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Alberta physicians are calling on the province to enact an immediate lockdown to stave off rising COVID-19 cases instead of moving forward with “insufficient” restrictions coming into effect this week.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday the province would essentially walk back to Step 1 of the economic relaunch strategy as troubling variant cases and hospitalizations spike. The latest round of restrictions will shutter indoor dining, further limit capacity in retail stores and prohibit drop-in fitness, among other measures.

At best, the rollback will slow transmission of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants but it won’t bend or flatten the curve, warned Alberta doctors during a media conference on Wednesday.

“All levels of government need to take action to prevent a higher peak in this third wave. What we are recommending today is an immediate lockdown, or circuit breaker,” said Dr. Shazma Mithani, an ER physician in Edmonton.

“We are asking that people only leave their homes for essential services, they only have contact with members of their own household or their cohort.”

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Wednesday

Alberta’s women’s shelters facing staffing shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, survey shows

Jan Reimer, executive director of Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. File photo.
Jan Reimer, executive director of Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. File photo. Photo by Larry Wong /Postmedia, file

Alberta’s women’s shelters are facing staffing shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic as employees in the female-dominated sector juggle their careers and personal caregiving responsibilities, shows a survey released Wednesday.

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Nearly all domestic violence shelter workers in Alberta are women, significantly higher than other female-majority industries such as health care, education and hospitality, according to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) 2019-20 workforce survey. As a result, many shelters have faced staffing shortages as employees balance their professional and personal responsibilities.

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Wednesday

‘We don’t have the data to support it’: Alberta Hospitality Association disappointed with province reverting to Step 1

A pedestrian makes their way past the Commercial Hotel – Blues On Whyte Pub, 10329 82 Ave., in Edmonton Monday Feb. 8, 2021. Photo by David Bloom
A pedestrian makes their way past the Commercial Hotel – Blues On Whyte Pub, 10329 82 Ave., in Edmonton Monday Feb. 8, 2021. Photo by David Bloom

The Alberta Hospitality Association is disappointed the province is reverting back to Step 1 of its public health restriction framework, arguing the decision is politically motivated.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that previous public health measures would be brought back in following a rise in COVID-19 cases and its variants. Returning to Step 1 means reducing capacity for retailers and malls to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, limiting indoor fitness activities to one-on-one training and prohibiting adult performances such as dancing and singing.

In-dining services will be banned at restaurants as of Friday at noon, although outdoor patios will be allowed.

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Wednesday

GraceLife Church shut down, fenced off for ignoring COVID-19 health restrictions

Another Sunday service at the GraceLife Church went ahead defying public health orders west of Edmonton, March 7, 2021.
Another Sunday service at the GraceLife Church went ahead defying public health orders west of Edmonton, March 7, 2021. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Layers of metal fencing were erected around the perimeter of GraceLife Church in Parkland County Wednesday as Alberta Health Services (AHS) shuttered the building after months of defiance of provincial public health orders.

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Residents who live in the area said they saw about a dozen RCMP vehicles arrive at the church west of Edmonton in a “convoy” around 6 a.m. RCMP said officers were on site to assist AHS with the closure. A private security company was also on the property.

By 8 a.m., a layer of fencing adorned with black cloth had been placed around the perimeter of the building. By noon, the driveway into the church and the parking lot had also been blocked by a fencing company.

Close to 50 people showed up to support the church throughout the morning while several others drove by shouting support for the RCMP and the closure of the building.

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