COVID-19 Update: 1,690 new cases, hospitalizations surge | Mixed messages from Hinshaw, Shandro | Albertans could be fined for travel to B.C.

Follow this page for updates and breaking news on coronavirus throughout the day

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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

  • Rates of COVID-19 infection in Alberta continued to surge Friday, as the province reported another 1,690 cases of the virus.
  • Albertans in their thirties won’t become eligible for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine just yet despite a new recommendation from a national panel because of supply issues, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Friday.
  • A Calgary Flames player has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Albertans could face fines if they cross into B.C. as the province restricts non-essential travel between its three regional zones to stifle the spread of COVID-19.
  • Rates of COVID-19 infection in Alberta have reached a height not seen since the peak of the province’s second wave of infections in mid-December. Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced this afternoon that Alberta has identified its first case of the so-called ‘double mutant’ B.1.617 variant.
  • The federal government is suspending incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries.
  • Alberta’s UCP government introduced new legislation today that would give COVID-19 legal liability protection to the health-care sector including continuing care operators.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw will deliver a live COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m.
  • All walk-in spots at the Telus Convention Centre vaccine clinic were filled by 11 a.m.
  • Albertans are now guaranteed paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The province reported 1,699 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday with a positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. Limited data was provided due to a technical issue.

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



Friday

Hinshaw, Shandro give mixed messages on restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Photo by Alberta government

Rates of COVID-19 infection in Alberta continued to surge Friday, as the province reported another 1,690 cases of the virus.

Alberta’s 1,690 new novel coronavirus infections Friday marks the province’s third-highest daily total in the third wave, not quite reaching the record 1,857 cases tallied the previous day.

Amid the swell in infections, both Alberta’s top doctor and its health minister deflected responsibility for introducing new public-health restrictions to curb transmission.

On Thursday, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said no additional public-health measures were immediately forthcoming, adding it will be elected MLAs, not her, who will make the call on restrictions.

But when asked about possible restrictions Friday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the ball was in Hinshaw’s court.

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“We do not, right now, have any options that are recommended to us by Dr. Hinshaw and her office,” Shandro said.

Read more.

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Friday

No AstraZeneca for Albertans in their 30s yet, despite national approval

Albertans in their thirties won’t become eligible for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine just yet despite a new recommendation from a national panel because of supply issues, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Friday.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s announcement that AstraZeneca is safe for people 30 and older is “welcome news,” Shandro said in a tweet, but for now the province can’t open up shots to younger groups because they don’t have enough, he said.

Read more.


Friday

COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Alberta

The Calgary South Health Campus on Monday, March 1, 2021.
The Calgary South Health Campus on Monday, March 1, 2021. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Friday

Albertans could face fines for non-essential travel to B.C.

A view of a highway near Kelowna, B.C.
A view of a highway near Kelowna, B.C. Photo by Postmedia Archives

Albertans could face fines if they cross into B.C. as the province restricts non-essential travel between its three regional zones to stifle the spread of COVID-19.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also the province’s public safety minister, announced on Friday that law enforcement will have discretion to issue $575 tickets should locals, or travellers, defy the public health order.

Read more.


Friday

The latest on COVID-19 from across Canada

Residents line up for a special “hot spot” vaccination clinic at Downsview Arena in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
Residents line up for a special “hot spot” vaccination clinic at Downsview Arena in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Rotational workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The province’s eastern health authority has announced an open call for rotational workers, truck drivers, ferry workers and flight crews to sign up for a shot.

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Non-essential travel is being restricted between three regional zones in British Columbia to try and curb the spread of COVID-19. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also the minister of public safety, says the new orders are being brought in using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act. The order goes into effect today and expires on May 25.

In Manitoba, all adults who live in three areas of Winnipeg are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone 18 and older who lives in Downtown East, Point Douglas South and Inkster East can sign up for an appointment. Adults who don’t live in those areas but work there in certain jobs that deal with the public are also eligible.

Nova Scotia is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 including 33 cases in the Halifax area which is under nearly full lockdown. The Halifax total includes five school-based cases identified by health officials late Thursday.

Nunavut is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 and eight recoveries today. There are now 37 active cases in the territory, 33 in Iqaluit and four in Kinngait.

Quebec is reporting 1,043 new cases of COVID-19 today and 15 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Ontario is reporting 4,505 new cases of COVID-19 and 34 more deaths linked to the virus.


Friday

Signs suggest Canada’s COVID-19 surge could be slowing down, says Tam

Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam.
Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

Canada’s top public health doctor says there’s been an increase of more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases since last month, but there are signs the epidemic is easing.

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Dr. Theresa Tam says average case counts have more than doubled over the past month, with upwards of 8,400 infections reported daily over the last week.

But Tam says there’s reason for hope due to Canada’s declining reproduction rate, which represents how many people are infected by each new case.

Read more.


Friday

AstraZeneca now recommended for people 30+ in Canada: NACI

Veronica Ouellette, office administrator for Dr. Nilli Kaplan-Myrth, displays the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Veronica Ouellette, office administrator for Dr. Nilli Kaplan-Myrth, displays the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Errol McGihon /Postmedia

A national advisory panel recommends people 30 and older can get a shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine if they do not want to wait for an alternative.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization provided the update in a briefing today.

The committee initially recommended a pause on using AstraZeneca shots for people younger than 55 out of an abundance of caution after reports of rare blood clots.

It says Health Canada released a safety assessment that showed the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks, which the committee also evaluated.
Although provinces initially paused giving AstraZeneca shots to younger people based on the committee’s advice, some have since started administering it to people over 40, given the current spread of the virus.

Read more.


Friday

Ontario reports first rare blood clot linked to Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Instances of blood clotting linked to the vaccine have been reported around the world, but experts say instances are rare.
Instances of blood clotting linked to the vaccine have been reported around the world, but experts say instances are rare. Photo by IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP via Getty Images

ntario has reported its first case of a rare blood clot in a person who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The province’s top doctor said Friday that the patient is a man in his 60s who had received his first dose.

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Dr. David Williams said the man has been treated and is recovering at home.

It’s the fourth case of the rare clotting condition in Canada out of more than 1.1 million AstraZeneca doses administered across the country.

Read more.


Friday

Trudeau receives AstraZeneca vaccine

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets a band-aid after being inoculated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a pharmacy in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 23, 2021.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets a band-aid after being inoculated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a pharmacy in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 23, 2021. Photo by BLAIR GABLE /REUTERS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday received his first dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine at an Ottawa pharmacy, telling reporters “I’m very excited” as the needle entered his arm.

Afterwards he posed for television cameras and photographers with his thumbs up and then watched as his wife Sophie received her first shot. Sophie came down with a mild case of the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic last year.

– Reuters


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