COVID-19 Update: Hinshaw update at 3:30 p.m. | Vaccination site to open at convention centre | Trudeau gives reassurances on AstraZeneca

Watch this page throughout the day for updates on COVID-19 in Calgary

Article content

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

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content


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. Appointments are still necessary and can be booked by contacting the participating pharmacies. Details on eligibility and booking can be found here.


Dr. Hinshaw to give COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content


Expanded Alberta vaccine rollout hits sign-up snags

Pharmacist Alison Davison prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart on 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary on Friday, March 5, 2021.
Pharmacist Alison Davison prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart on 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary on Friday, March 5, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Some Albertans seeking to book an appointment Monday amid an expanded COVID-19 vaccination program hit roadblocks, according to Alberta Health Services.

The glitches arose as the province launched phase 2A of its vaccination program that allows those born between 1947 and 1956 and First Nations, Inuit and Metis born in 1971 and before to book their immunization appointments starting at 8 a.m. Monday.

“The AHS website is experiencing intermittent issues. The Covid-19 immunization booking tool launch this morning is being delayed as a result,” the AHS tweeted Monday morning.

Read more.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content



The new Canada: How COVID-19 pushed real estate buyers into the hinterland

A promotional shot from Live for the Moment NB, a campaign by the Government of New Brunswick to lure remote workers to the province.
A promotional shot from Live for the Moment NB, a campaign by the Government of New Brunswick to lure remote workers to the province. Photo by Live for the Moment NB

It was last June when Haligonians started noticing something weird was happening. After weeks of hibernation, their real estate market had suddenly exploded into bidding wars, with some sellers reporting “30 or 40 offers on a single property.”

At first, analysts brushed it off as “pent-up demand,” but then the prices just kept climbing — not just in Halifax, but across the Atlantic coast.

For years, Atlantic Canada has been a land of almost comically cheap real estate. Where Victorian mansions sold for less than a Toronto bachelor pad, and where historic churches in dying small towns could be picked up for $1.

But after decades of losing people to Ontario, COVID-19 — and Atlantic Canada’s relative safety from the virus — was sending them all right back.

Read more.


Trudeau offers reassurance on AstraZeneca safety as European countries suspend use

Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021.
Vials of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered reassurances on the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the list of European countries suspending its use due to safety concerns grew.

Germany joined others in Europe pausing their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of blood clots in some recipients, even though European regulators say there’s no evidence the shot is to blame.

Trudeau said Health Canada regulators are constantly analyzing all the available information about vaccines and have guaranteed those approved in Canada are safe for use.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Read more.

Here’s what Alberta’s chief medical officer of health had to say about the issue a few days ago:

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content


Mass vaccination site to open at Telus Convention Centre

The Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary.
The Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

A large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site will open at the Telus Convention Centre on April 5, Alberta Health Services said in a statement this morning.

The City of Calgary will provide free parking at the site, with bookings to open later in March.

The site will have about 100 vaccination stations and will operate between eight and 16 hours a day, seven days a week, depending on supply.

The addition of the convention centre will bring the total number of AHS immunization sites in the Calgary zone to 25.

Last week AHS announced that the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary is open for vaccinations, capable of administering 60 doses per hour.

Eligible Albertans must book their vaccinations through the AHS online booking site or by calling Health Link at 811. There are no drop-ins allowed.

Read more.


Regular booster shots are the future in battle with COVID-19 virus, says British health official

Crys Harse receives her first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by pharmacy manager Hemin Patel at the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy on 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary on March 5, 2021.
Crys Harse receives her first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by pharmacy manager Hemin Patel at the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy on 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary on March 5, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Regular booster vaccines against the novel coronavirus will be needed because of mutations that make it more transmissible and better able to evade human immunity, the head of Britain’s effort to sequence the virus’s genomes told Reuters.

The novel coronavirus, which has killed 2.65 million people globally since it emerged in China in late 2019, mutates around once every two weeks, slower than influenza or HIV, but enough to require tweaks to vaccines.

“We have to appreciate that we were always going to have to have booster doses; immunity to coronavirus doesn’t last forever,” Sharon Peacock said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Read more.


COVID-19 one year later: Yoga studio owner faces mounting bills — and an $87,000 lawsuit

Dana Blonde, owner of Yoga Shala, stands outside her location in northwest Calgary. The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on her business and she is in an ongoing fight with her landlord.
Dana Blonde, owner of Yoga Shala, stands outside her location in northwest Calgary. The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on her business and she is in an ongoing fight with her landlord. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

On March 16, 2020, one day before the Alberta government declared a state of public emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, Dana Blonde shut down — she thought temporarily — the inner-city yoga studio she had run for 17 years.

Almost one year later, on March 3, 2021, she was sued by her landlord for $87,000 in unpaid rent.

The two events together book-end what has been the most stressful year in the 50-year-old Calgary woman’s life. Like many small business owners, Blonde has spent the last 12 months trying desperately to stay afloat — and has been dealt one gut punch after another.

“It’s mind-blowing to me that it’s been a year,” Blonde said, of the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. “I’m a very resilient person. I haven’t cried this whole time. But when I got this statement (of claim) from the landlord, all day long I was trying not to cry. It’s just like being kicked in the knees at the worst time ever.”

Read more.


COVID-19 developments across Canada on Monday

People lineup outside a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on March 11, 2021.
People lineup outside a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on March 11, 2021. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is promising to resolve reported issues with the province’s vaccine booking portal. Ford says he does not want technical issues to deter people from using the portal, which launched today. He says more than 45,000 people have been able to book appointments so far using the website and a call centre, which also launched today.

Manitoba health officials are announcing 50 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths. Officials also say 18 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant originally identified in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in Manitoba.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’ll happily take a COVID-19 vaccine when his time comes. But Trudeau isn’t circling a date on the calendar for his turn because he says that’s not where his focus is at the moment. Canada is scheduled to receive more than one million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines every week as vaccination efforts ramp up nationally.

Quebec is reporting 594 new COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths. Health officials said today hospitalizations rose by six, to 553, and 96 people were in intensive care, a drop of four.

Ontario is reporting 1,268 new cases of COVID-19 today and nine more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said today there are 366 new cases in Toronto, 220 in Peel Region, and 147 in York Region.


Green shoots of hope for a pandemic-free summer in Canada, but leaders urge caution

People line up outside of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto for their COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Experts say the vaccine offers hope for a quicker return to normal life.
People line up outside of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto for their COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Experts say the vaccine offers hope for a quicker return to normal life. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post

The warmer weather is arriving, daylight saving time returned Sunday and the exasperatingly slow vaccine rollout in Canada is sputtering to life.

While acknowledging there are good reasons for optimism, and an end to the year-long COVID-19 pandemic, the overarching messaging from Canada’s leaders hasn’t budged in a meaningful way from earlier scripts.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam encouraged Canadians to “keep to a steady and cautious pace.”

“Racing towards the finish line could cost us what we’ve gained,” said Tam, while Trudeau stuck to his “by end of September” timeline for having all adult Canadians who want it vaccinated.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Read more.


Alberta detects first cases of Brazil variant, prepares to expand vaccine eligibility

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta has detected its first two cases of the highly contagious COVID-19 variant that was identified in Brazil, P.1, on Sunday as the province prepares to once again expand vaccine eligibility.

The two cases of the P.1 strain have been linked to travel and are both located in the Calgary zone, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, on her Twitter account Sunday. The two are already isolating and their close contacts are being offered testing twice.

This is the third variant strain to be detected in Alberta, though P.1 has been located in other provinces, including Ontario and B.C.

“I know any new variant cases can create anxiety but remember we are working hard to prevent their spread. These variants are spread by close contact and measures that protect you from other strains — distancing, masking, washing hands — will also protect you from this variant,” said Hinshaw on Twitter.

The province also reported another 63 cases of the B.1.1.7 strain that was first identified in the U.K. and one case of the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa.

Read more.


East Coasters proud of COVID record, but some worry over heavy cost to mental health

A swab is taken at a COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Nov. 25, 2020.
A swab is taken at a COVID-19 testing site on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Nov. 25, 2020. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Atlantic Canada’s political leaders have touted the region as an example to the world after the novel coronavirus was repeatedly beaten back by a population that dutifully followed orders to isolate and physically distance.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Yet, a year after the first cases, the side-effects of declining mental health and damaged livelihoods remain costs that some psychologists and entrepreneurs say haven’t been fully recognized. And as residents reflect on the year past, their reactions vary from pride to sadness, as they recall both lives saved and the lasting damage many have endured.

“We’ve learned through this that Atlantic Canadians tend to respect authority and government a lot more than other regions,” said Donald Savoie, author of multiple books on the East Coast’s economy and politics.

Read more.


Sunday

Africa Centre food bank to stay open after community support

Africa Centre volunteers work to create hampers for the Africa Diaspora Food Bank.
Africa Centre volunteers work to create hampers for the Africa Diaspora Food Bank. Photo by Supplied by the Africa Centre

An Alberta food bank that’s been providing hampers to racialized groups through the COVID-19 pandemic will remain open after seeing significant community support in recent days.

The Africa Diaspora Food Bank, run by Black-led organizations in Alberta, launched last spring after the start of the pandemic to provide more than 100 culturally specific hampers to families in need each week.

Earlier this week, organizers said they were at risk of closing their doors due to a lack of funding.

But a recent surge of donations means the group can keep distributing food packages through to the start of the fall.

Read more.


Sunday

AstraZeneca finds no evidence of increased blood clot risk from vaccine

A medical worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca “Covishield” coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India at Municipal Gymnasium in Linares, Mexico on Feb. 17, 2021.
A medical worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca “Covishield” coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India at Municipal Gymnasium in Linares, Mexico on Feb. 17, 2021. Photo by Daniel Becerril /REUTERS

AstraZeneca Plc said on Sunday a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

AstraZeneca’s review, which covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the United Kingdom and European Union, comes after health authorities in some countries suspended the use of its vaccine over clotting issues.

“A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country,” the company said.

Read more.


Sunday

‘Patchwork quilt’ approach to COVID-19 vaccine rollout frustrates worker groups

A pharmacist prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart on 17th Avenue S.W. on March 5, 2021.
A pharmacist prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart on 17th Avenue S.W. on March 5, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations across the country is frustrating several groups of workers who identify as front-line employees and want to be bumped up in the queue.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization makes recommendations for the use of vaccines and groups that should be prioritized, but each province has the responsibility for health care.

“It is frustrating,” said Shelley Morse, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, in Wolfville, N.S.

“We know that (the committee) is calling for prioritization of different working groups. And when they call for people in ‘congregate settings’ to be prioritized that would include teachers and education workers.”

She said the federation’s 300,000 members who work in classrooms are at risk and should be included in the second phase of vaccinations across Canada.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories are including teachers in that phase, Morse said, but not other jurisdictions.

She said the federal and provincial governments need to sit down and agree to a national list.

Read more.


Sunday

GraceLife Church, charged as entity for COVID-19 violations, still drawing crowds

Hundreds of churchgoers defied Alberta government pandemic health restrictions and flocked to GraceLife Church on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
Hundreds of churchgoers defied Alberta government pandemic health restrictions and flocked to GraceLife Church on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Photo by Larry Wong/Postmedia

Less than a week after it was charged as an entity for breaching COVID-19 public health orders, GraceLife Church held another packed service Sunday morning and authorities did not intervene.

Two RCMP police officers, along with one Alberta Health Services employee, were parked in police cruisers off the church property about 5 km west of the city limits on Hwy 627, prior to the service. They did not enter the church property or engage with churchgoers and left about half an hour after the service began.

Read more.


Sunday

‘One of our finer moments:’ Pandemic led to massive scramble to get Canadians home

An aerial view from a drone shows the cruise ship Coral Princess after it docked at Port Miami on April 4, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
An aerial view from a drone shows the cruise ship Coral Princess after it docked at Port Miami on April 4, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Global Affairs headquarters transformed into a travel agency. The department’s emergency response centre, normally staffed by two dozen people, swelled to 600, swallowing up offices, the library and entire floors of the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa.

When countries began locking down, imposing road closures and checkpoints, there were calls to foreign governments to negotiate landing rights and safe ground passage for desperate passengers.

“Everyone became a consular official, everyone became a travel agent,” recalled then-foreign affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. “I remember texting my counterpart in Peru to open the airspace.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Read more.


Sunday

Experts say Quebecers may be less willing to comply with curfew as days get longer

A police cruiser patrols Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The Quebec government has imposed a curfew to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
A police cruiser patrols Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The Quebec government has imposed a curfew to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — The curfew imposed across Quebec in a bid to quell the spread of COVID-19 is coming under renewed scrutiny as public health experts question whether residents will still be willing to comply with the measure as the days grow longer.

The curfew — which came into effect in early January — has corresponded with a steep decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily in the province.

It also appears to have broad public support, with 70 per cent of Quebecers in favour of the measure, according to a survey released Tuesday by the province’s public health institute.

But that support might decline once the curfew means staying in when it’s still light outside, said Kim Lavoie, the chair of behavioral medicine at the University of Quebec at Montreal.

Read more.


Sunday

More provinces expanding vaccine rollouts as COVID-19 cases rise nationally

Chief public health officer Theresa Tam prepares to give a COVID-19 briefing in Ottawa on Jan. 15, 2021.
Chief public health officer Theresa Tam prepares to give a COVID-19 briefing in Ottawa on Jan. 15, 2021. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Some provinces are expanding their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts amid what Canada’s chief public health officer describes as a recent increase in the number of new cases across the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam says health officials are observing a rise in new infections after several weeks of levelling off.

Tam expressed concern over an increase in cases linked to more contagious virus variants, as well as a higher infection rate in Canadians age 20 to 39, who she described in a statement as more mobile and socially connected.

Her statement adds urgency to the vaccine effort, which is ramping up in several provinces as more doses arrive.

Read more.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

View Source