COVID-19 Update: 841 new cases over two days | UCP backbencher wants mask rules dropped for youth | Cases surge in Ontario – Calgary Herald

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A masked pedestrian walks along Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.
A masked pedestrian walks along Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

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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Share your COVID-19 stories

As Alberta grapples with a fourth wave of COVID-19 at the start of another school year, we’re looking to hear your stories on this evolving situation.

  • Are you or a loved one seeking medical care outside the country after facing a cancelled surgery here?
  • Are you someone who has decided to get vaccinated after previously being skeptical of the vaccines?
  • Are you a frontline heath care worker seeing new strains on the health system?

Send us your stories via email at reply@calgaryherald.com or by using this online submission forum .


‘A problem for adults’: UCP backbencher asks Kenney to drop mask rules for youth

Students, most of them wearing masks, leave William Aberhart High School at the end of the day in northwest Calgary on Oct. 5, 2021.
Students, most of them wearing masks, leave William Aberhart High School at the end of the day in northwest Calgary on Oct. 5, 2021. Photo by Jim Wells/Postmedia

A UCP MLA’s plea to exempt those under age 18 from masking and other COVID-19 restrictions has drawn the ire of physicians and the opposition NDP.

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In a Nov. 4 letter to Premier Jason Kenney, Calgary-South East MLA Matt Jones called for mandatory masking and school cohorts to be dropped for non-adults, saying they’re not as vulnerable to the disease and need relief after 20 months of pandemic.

“I recognize the extreme pressures our health care system is experiencing, particularly ICUs, but the roughly one million Albertans aged 0-17 are not significant contributors to those pressures,” wrote Jones.

“In my view, COVID-19 is a problem for adults, primarily driven by adults, that should be handled by adults.”

Read more.


Alberta reports 841 new cases over two days

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Here are updated COVID-19 numbers for Nov. 10 and 11, released by Alberta Health Services on Friday afternoon:

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  • The province reported 841 new cases for Wednesday and Thursday. Alberta has had fewer than 1,000 daily cases since Oct. 14.
  • Seven deaths were reported to Alberta Health Services over two days, bringing the total to 3,171 since the start of the pandemic.
  • There are 554 people in hospital with COVID-19, 28 fewer than Wednesday. There are 110 people in ICU, 13 fewer than Wednesday.
  • There are 105 people in hospital in the Calgary zone, 15 fewer than Wednesday.
  • There are 5,745 active infections in Alberta, 263 fewer than Wednesday.
  • There are 1,734 active infections in the Calgary zone, 43 fewer than Wednesday.
  • 81.4 per cent of Alberta’s eligible population (69.2 per cent of the entire population) is fully vaccinated.

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Cases rising across Ontario as province enters new period of COVID transmission

A pedestrian walks past an advertisement in downtown Toronto on a rainy Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.
A pedestrian walks past an advertisement in downtown Toronto on a rainy Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/The National Post

Twenty months into the pandemic, with 85 per cent of residents 12 and older double vaccinated, Ontario is seeing another surge of COVID-19 cases.

What will happen in the coming weeks remains somewhat uncertain, Ontario’s Science Advisory Table acknowledged Friday. But some health officials are optimistic the province has the tools to mitigate this wave without drastic measures, as long as it uses them.

The key, uOttawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan said, is making sure policy tools are used and enforced: including vaccination mandates, vaccine certificates and good ventilation.

Read more.


Canada could authorize vaccine for kids 5-11 in ‘one to two weeks’

Bridgette Melo, 5, receives a reduced dose of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine during a trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Bridgette Melo, 5, receives a reduced dose of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine during a trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Photo by Shawn Rocco/Duke University/Handout via Reuters

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Health Canada says a decision on whether to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for children will come “in the next one to two weeks,” leaving open the possibility that some kids could be at least partially protected by Christmas.

The news comes as parts of Canada see an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the weeks leading up to the holiday season.

Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said in a conference call with reporters Friday that the regulator is “actively continuing” its review of the Pfizer-BioNtech jab for children aged five to 11, which was authorized for use in the United States earlier this month.

Read more .


One-third of Iowa deer test positive for SARS-CoV-2, scientists see a new stream of mutations

Nearly one-third of Iowa deer are infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 in humans, a study has found.
Nearly one-third of Iowa deer are infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 in humans, a study has found. Photo by Getty Images

With COVID-19 caseloads on the decline and vaccines rolling out around the world, nations have begun preparations for the next phase of the pandemic — learning to live with the virus.

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However, we may not be fully in the clear, scientists say after a study found the first evidence of animals transmitting the virus in the wild, with troubling implications for the spread of the disease and emergence of new variants.

Released on Nov. 6, the preprint study found that one-third of the white tail deer population in Iowa over the past nine months has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans — indicating that not only can deer catch the virus from humans but can also transmit it within their population in overwhelming numbers.

Read more .


What we know about COVID-19 variant Delta’s newest offspring

A 3d illustration of the Delta variant. Two new sub-strains detected in Canada show the virus’s ability to adapt.
A 3d illustration of the Delta variant. Two new sub-strains detected in Canada show the virus’s ability to adapt.

Two new descendants of Delta circulating in Canada that appear to have a survival edge — they seem slightly more spreadable — tell us SARS-CoV-2 may still have “plenty more room” to continue adapting to humans, scientists say.

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“It’s hard to say what the ceiling is,” said Jesse Shapiro, an associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Montreal’s McGill University.

“It will keep climbing to find a peak of adaptation. But we don’t really know how close to the peak we are.”

Read more .


Manitoba government sets down new rules to stop rising COVID-19 case numbers

A man hands out face masks in a bush shelter in Winnipeg on April 30, 2021.
A man hands out face masks in a bush shelter in Winnipeg on April 30, 2021. Photo by Chris Procaylo/Postmedia

The Manitoba government is tightening its public health orders to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon says changes are needed to stop a rising number of cases and to keep hospital beds available.

Starting Saturday, religious gatherings in most of the southern health region will be capped at 25 persons, or separate cohorts of 25 people, unless all attendees are fully vaccinated.

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The southern health region has the lowest vaccine uptake in the province and has been a major source of hospitalizations in recent weeks.

Across the province, starting Dec. 5, youth between 12 and 17 will need to show proof of at least one vaccination or a negative test result to take part in indoor recreational sports.

— The Canadian Press


‘I put life on hold’: Woman who had delayed surgery in Alberta says she’s worse off

Sharon Durham pictured in Edmonton on Monday Nov. 8, 2021. Durham had her rare cancer surgery cancelled in Saskatchewan and then rescheduled in Edmonton when Alberta was at the peak of its fourth wave.
Sharon Durham pictured in Edmonton on Monday Nov. 8, 2021. Durham had her rare cancer surgery cancelled in Saskatchewan and then rescheduled in Edmonton when Alberta was at the peak of its fourth wave. Photo by Jason Franson /THE CANADIAN PRESS

A woman whose surgery in Alberta for cancer in her face was delayed because hospitals were overburdened with COVID-19 says the consequences for her have been drastic.

Sharon Durham of Wynyard, Sask., says she would not have lost her entire nose if the surgery had been done sooner. She will have to wear a prosthetic one for the rest of her life.

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“I could have used part of my old nose and just had some plastic surgery done,” Durham, 54, told The Canadian Press.

Read more .


Thursday

Canada’s new COVID-19 epicentres are more remote, less vaccinated and less resourced

The region of Sudbury, Ontario, has tightened health restrictions after seeing a surge of COVID-19 infections. John Lappa/Postmedia Network
The region of Sudbury, Ontario, has tightened health restrictions after seeing a surge of COVID-19 infections. John Lappa/Postmedia Network

Canada’s coronavirus epicentres are shifting from dense urban zones to more rural or remote areas that have lower vaccination rates and fewer public health resources.

Some of those areas were spared in earlier waves of the pandemic and are now forced to contend with a widely spreading virulent strain of the coronavirus with fewer options at their disposal to deal with the surge.

Canada has high overall vaccination rates but pockets of hesitancy allow the virus to spread.

Read More.


Wednesday

More parents demand HEPA filters in classrooms as cases increase for young children

Amanda Hu has been advocating for HEPA filters in CBE classrooms in Calgary. Photo taken on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.
Amanda Hu has been advocating for HEPA filters in CBE classrooms in Calgary. Photo taken on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

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More parents are raising concerns around why public schools won’t allow HEPA filters in classrooms to reduce COVID spread, just as new data shows a spike in cases among five to 11 year olds.

Amanda Hu, spokeswoman for Fresh Air Network, an Alberta parent advocacy group fighting for better ventilation, says it’s time schools recognize COVID as an airborne virus and that students in classrooms get the protection of filtration.

“We know this virus is airborne, that infectious particles are coming out of mouths, and out of noses, and are being emitted into the air,” Hu said.

“HEPA filters, very simply, pull in the air with infectious particles through a filter, and emit air that no longer has those infectious particles. Why not provide that extra layer of protection?”

Read more.

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