COVID-19 Update: 692 new cases, two deaths | Alberta leads country in variant cases; tighter restrictions possible: Hinshaw

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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My COVID Story: How have you been impacted by coronavirus?

Postmedia is looking to speak with people who may have been impacted by COVID-19 here in Alberta.  Have you undergone a travel-related quarantine? Have you received your vaccine, and if so did you feel any side effects? Have you changed your life for the better because of the pandemic? Send us an email at reply@calgaryherald.com to tell us your experience, or send us a message via this form.

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


Pharmacies in and around Calgary offering COVID-19 vaccine

This map shows 53 pharmacies in Calgary, Chestermere and Airdrie offering the COVID-19 vaccine. More locations will be added in the coming days, according to the provincial government. Appointments are still required and can be booked by contacting the participating pharmacies. Details on eligibility and booking can be found here.


Wednesday

Procurement minister tells MPs Canada’s COVID vaccines won’t be hit by Europe’s export bans

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand.
Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

Procurement Minister Anita Anand assured MPs that despite growing reports of export restrictions in Europe Canada’s vaccine supply will not be hit and shots will continue to flow to provinces.

The European Union introduced legislation this week that would allow it to constrict exports of vaccines outside of the trading Bloc, and there were several reports India is also considering preventing vaccines from leaving its shores.

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Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at Joey Eau Claire restaurant linked to 31 cases

The exterior of Joey Eau Claire location in Calgary on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The restaurant has been shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected 31 people.
The exterior of Joey Eau Claire location in Calgary on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The restaurant has been shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected 31 people. Photo by Christopher Landry /Postmedia

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Joey Eau Claire restaurant has been linked to 31 cases, a spokesperson for the province confirmed Wednesday.

Of the 31 cases, 27 are still active while four are considered recovered. Eighteen have been identified as variants of concern, according to the spokesperson.

Alberta Health Services confirmed the restaurant voluntarily closed March 13. In a emailed statement, AHS said it will review public health protocols with the restaurant prior to its reopening, which is expected “later this week.”

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Wednesday

As variant numbers continue to rise, tightened restrictions possible: Hinshaw

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided, from Edmonton on Thursday, January 28, 2021, an update on COVID-19.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided, from Edmonton on Thursday, January 28, 2021, an update on COVID-19. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Tighter public health restrictions could be imposed if Alberta continues to see its current rise in COVID-19 cases, particularly from more infectious variants, Alberta’s top doctor said Wednesday.

Alberta recorded its largest single daily count of variant cases Wednesday — 202 — though that number came from more than one day of swabbing, said Alberta Health officials.

That eclipsed the largest number of 197 recorded the previous day.

And the province also recorded its first two community-acquired cases of the P.1 variant, a strain originating in Brazil, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Those infections brought the total number of variant cases recorded in Alberta to 2,110 — well over double the count of the 920 logged by March 15.

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Wednesday

Calgary hospitals preparing for expected surge of COVID-19 patients

The Peter Lougheed Centre hospital was photographed on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
The Peter Lougheed Centre hospital was photographed on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Calgary’s hospitals are preparing for an expected surge of COVID-19 patients as cases, variant cases and hospitalizations climb across the province.

After managing two previous waves, one in early 2020 and a second in late fall, Alberta Health Services is able to quickly adapt to changes in patient demand and continue to carefully monitor the current situation, AHS said in a statement.

Alberta remains far from the peak of hospitalizations documented in December, but hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients are gradually increasing.

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Wednesday

Pandemic-weary business owners in Alberta attend virtual seminar to better navigate applying for federal COVID-19 aid

Only about 33 per cent of all industries in Alberta received federal COVID-19 relief funding from CEWS and 53 per cent for CEBA, according to a November business survey by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Businesses say they are intimidated by the complex language used in the application process and also by threats to crack down on fraudulent claims.
Only about 33 per cent of all industries in Alberta received federal COVID-19 relief funding from CEWS and 53 per cent for CEBA, according to a November business survey by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Businesses say they are intimidated by the complex language used in the application process and also by threats to crack down on fraudulent claims. Photo by Justin Tang/The Canadian Press/File

A pandemic-weary business crowd has better tools to navigate applying for federal COVID-19 relief funding after a Wednesday virtual seminar hosted by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.

About 200 business owners attended the online workshop following numerous reports about how subsidy programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) are not being fully utilized.

Roughly 33 per cent of all industries in Alberta received funding from CEWS and 53 per cent for CEBA, according to a November business survey by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Less than one-quarter took advantage of the 10 per cent wage subsidy.

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Wednesday

Can’t sleep? U of A expert offers tips to combat pandemic insomnia

Woman lying in bed suffering from insomnia. Stock image. Getty Images/iStock Photo Stock; woman; clock; insomnia; sleep
Woman lying in bed suffering from insomnia. Stock image. Getty Images/iStock Photo Stock; woman; clock; insomnia; sleep Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz /Getty Images/iStockphoto

Having trouble sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic? A University of Alberta expert says you are not alone and there is help to combat sleep disruption.

Cary Brown, a sleep researcher and occupational therapist, said a study out of the United States had more than 40 per cent of participants reporting insomnia during the pandemic. There may be a number of factors contributing to why people are sleeping less.

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Wednesday

692 new cases, two deaths

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw delivered an update on COVID-19 in the province on Wednesday afternoon.

  • 692 new cases on ~12,800 tests; 5.3% positivity rate
  • 285 in hospitals; 53 in ICUs
  • Two deaths
  • 202 new variant cases; variants are 19% of active cases
  • The first community-acquired cases of the P1 variant first identified in Brazil have been found; two were reported yesterday
  • Active alerts or outbreaks in 363 schools; 1,550 cases in these schools since Jan. 11

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Wednesday

Braid: In face of E.U. export bans, Canada’s mediocrity may keep vaccine shipments coming

Alberta Health workers handle a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine on March 9, 2021, in this photo on Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s Twitter account.
Alberta Health workers handle a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine on March 9, 2021, in this photo on Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s Twitter account. Photo by Twitter

Columnist Don Braid writes:

Canada’s vaccine supply depends entirely on “the kindness of strangers,” to misuse the great line from the Tennessee Williams play.

There is no single COVID-19 vaccine dose that isn’t made and shipped from somewhere else, mostly Europe. And vaccine nationalism is intensifying there.

On Thursday the European Union is expected to decide on new measures that could potentially block exports.

Canada is not on the E.U. list of more than 100 countries officially exempted from export bans. This doesn’t mean Canada will be deprived, but certainly suggests it’s possible.

Read more.


Wednesday

Alberta reaches the half-million mark on doses administered

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks to reporters from the Rockyview surgical centre in Calgary on March 5, 2021.
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks to reporters from the Rockyview surgical centre in Calgary on March 5, 2021. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Alberta has now administered 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, meaning one-in-10 albertans has had at least one dose.

“Alberta’s vaccine rollout keeps getting bigger and better,” said Shandro in a written statement. “More than 146,400 doses were administered during the last week, including more than 27,600 reported on March 21 alone.”

“Despite setbacks from the federal government, we are getting vaccines in the arms of Albertans as quickly and safely as possible. We are more than doubling the number of pharmacies offering vaccinations, with hundreds more participating, along with community physicians, in the coming weeks.”

Alberta has said everyone who wants the vaccine will get at least one does by the end of June. No vaccine has yet been approved for children.



COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Alberta

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

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