COVID-19 Update: Resident, family members say AgeCare staff not to blame for outbreaks | South African variant found in Alberta | Vaccines not coming for most Albertans until fall

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Alberta surpassed its single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Saturday with 31 new fatalities, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,272.

The sobering toll comes as questions emerge over variants of COVID-19, two of which have now been detected in Alberta.

The previous high in daily fatalities was 30 deaths, first reported on Dec. 17 and matched on Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

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Saturday

Pope Francis to have COVID-19 vaccine, says it is the ethical choice for all

Pope Francis delivers the Angelus prayer from the Vatican Apostolic Library Jan. 1, 2021. Photo by Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis said on Saturday he planned to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as next week and urged everyone to get a shot, to protect not only their own lives but those of others.

“I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine,” the Pope said in an interview with TV station Canale 5. “It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.”

Vatican City, the smallest independent county in the world, home to about 450 people including Pope Francis, has said it will shortly launch its own vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.

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Saturday

Calgary care aide who died of COVID-19 passionate about his job

Joe (Jing) Corral was the first health-care worker in Alberta to die from COVID-19 on Dec. 28, 2020. Corral worked at Bethany Riverview in southeast Calgary which is grappling with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Photo by Facebook

Ephraim Tiangha says there’s been a painful absence in his home since his best friend, a health-care aide at a long-term care centre, died from COVID-19.

Tiangha dreads another void that awaits him when he returns to work later this month at Calgary’s Bethany Riverview, where he worked alongside Joe Marie (Jing) Corral in the same dementia unit.

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