COVID-19 Update: Booking begins for AstraZeneca vaccine | Libraries reopen today | Some anti-mask charges dropped

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.


What’s happening now

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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.



Calgary pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccine

This map shows all 48 Calgary pharmacies that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently the vaccine is open to all Albertans born in the year 1946 or earlier. Appointments are still necessary and can be booked by contacting the participating pharmacies. Details on booking your vaccine jab at a pharmacy can be found here.


Booking for AstraZeneca vaccine begins at 8 a.m. for people born in 1957

Albertans won’t be able to book vaccine appointments until 8 a.m. this morning, Alberta Health Services tweeted out Tuesday evening.

AHS said the online booking tool will be unavailable from midnight to 8 a.m. on Wednesday and the outage would affect booking vaccines through 811 as well. The outage is “to prepare the AHS online booking tool for the next wave of eligible Albertans,” according to the tweet.

Bookings for the AstraZeneca vaccine start Wednesday; First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals aged 49 and other Albertans aged 64 with no severe chronic illness are the first people eligible for AstraZeneca vaccine.

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In an open letter published online Tuesday evening, AHS said that while capacity has been increased with the booking tool, Albertans can help by considering waiting until later in the day to book appointments.

“While we have increased capacity, if everyone tries to access those services at the same time, the queues will fill up and there will be delays,” AHS said in the open letter. “If people are patient and wait until less peak times, the system will work better and more people will have an improved experience.”

The tool has capacity to book about 100,000 appointments over 24 hours, according to AHS.

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Braid: Fight with doctors? Never happened, says health minister

Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Photo by Government of Alberta

Columnist Don Braid writes:

If UCP politicians were asked which fiasco they want every voter to forget, the likely winner would be “the fight with the doctors.”

The great forgetting has already begun.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro claimed Tuesday there was never any conflict between the government and the Alberta Medical Association, which represents physicians.

At a legislature committee meeting he said: “there was no fight with the Alberta Medical Association.”

Politicians will always try to rewrite history, but for heaven’s sake, they can at least wait until the history is actually over.

Read more.


Closed since December, Calgary libraries reopen today

Facilitator Suzen Statz prepares for Wednesday’s reopening at the Calgary Central Library.
Facilitator Suzen Statz prepares for Wednesday’s reopening at the Calgary Central Library. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

After being shut down for nearly three months, Calgary Public Library branches have reopened today with reduced hours.

All 21 locations will require adherence to health measures still in place, including mandatory masks and prohibiting food and drinks. They’ll be operating at 15 per cent capacity and won’t be running any on-site gatherings or programs.

Mark Asberg, Calgary Public Library’s CEO, said he is pleased libraries were bumped up in the provincial government’s relaunch strategy.

“We know that our community is in need of our services and, for many, the library is a critical resource,” Asberg said in a statement.

YMCA Calgary announced last week that all of its facilities would reopen for drop-in fitness and some group classes on March 12. Brookfield Residential YMCA and Shane Homes YMCA opened on March 8.

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More COVID-19 restriction violation charges being dismissed, say lawyers

A group of around 70 people gathered at Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary to protest COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, March 7, 2021.
A group of around 70 people gathered at Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary to protest COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

An increasing number of charges alleging COVID-19 restriction violations are being dismissed by Alberta Crown Prosecutors, say lawyers defending against them.

In recent days, at least nine charges alleging mask violations and a ban on gatherings have been dropped by prosecutors, said Jay Cameron, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom.

Some of those dismissed charges included fines of $1,200 and involved people attending protests in Calgary and Edmonton and those ticketed for not wearing masks in stores, he said.

It’s clear prosecutors considered the likelihood of a guilty verdict to be low, reflecting the charges’ frivolous and even unconstitutional nature, said Cameron.

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Tuesday

Alberta prepares for AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, reports 255 new cases of COVID-19

Alberta reported another 255 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the province prepares to administer the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine starting Wednesday.

Booking appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine will start on Wednesday at 8 a.m. for Albertans aged 64 and First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals aged 49, with no severe chronic illness.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 to 64 who are less at risk of severe outcomes and do not have a specific chronic condition, are not a caregiver of high-risk individuals or do not live or work in congregate settings.

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Tuesday

Police investigating after observing more than 100 people at party in southwest Edmonton Saturday night

Police estimate more than 100 people took part in an illegal party at Khrome Beauty Lounge in southeast Edmonton early Sunday. Taken on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Edmonton.
Police estimate more than 100 people took part in an illegal party at Khrome Beauty Lounge in southeast Edmonton early Sunday. Taken on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Edmonton police are investigating after breaking up a party in southwest Edmonton attended by more than 100 people Saturday night.

Officers responded to the Khrome Beauty Lounge, located in a commercial complex called Ellwood Corner, at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, to a complaint of a large gathering, Edmonton police spokesman Scott Pattison said.

It was estimated there were between 100 and 125 people in attendance at the party, where officers also discovered “large volumes of alcohol” and a DJ on the premises.

Read more.


Tuesday

255 new cases, six deaths

The latest COVID-19 numbers for Alberta:

  • 255 new cases on 5,434 tests; ~4.7% positivity rate
  • 263 in hospital; 37 in ICUs
  • Six deaths; 1,926 total
  • 4,470 active cases; 129,978 recovered

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

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