COVID-19 Update: Ski hills to require proof of vaccination | Council considering changing mask bylaw threshold | Mobile vaccine program extended – Calgary Herald

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

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Newsroom Staff

The Mobile Vaccination Van at the Dalhousie Farmers Market on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.
The Mobile Vaccination Van at the Dalhousie Farmers Market on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/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 .


Ski hills to require proof of vaccination

Skiers at Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis.
Skiers at Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis. Photo by AL CHAREST /Postmedia file

Skiers and snowboarders will need to have their proof of COVID-19 vaccination ready at some of the country’s major alpine resorts this season.

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On Monday afternoon, the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) announced proof of vaccination will be required for all guests before they can get on the mountain. A couple of weeks ago, the company confirmed that all its staff would need to be double vaccinated.

That means that skiers and snowboarders wanting to spend the day shredding the slopes at Nakiska Ski Area, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kimberley Ski Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will need their COVID-19 immunization record on-hand when they head to the hills.

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City council to consider strengthening threshold for lifting mandatory mask rules

People wearing masks are seen walking along 17th Ave SW. Thursday, October 28, 2021.
People wearing masks are seen walking along 17th Ave SW. Thursday, October 28, 2021. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Nearly two months after reinstating Calgary’s mandatory mask bylaw, city council will consider changing the threshold for when it can be lifted.

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Face coverings are currently mandatory in publicly accessible indoor spaces as part of both a provincial mandate and municipal rules. Calgary’s bylaw has a set expiration date: either by the end of the year, or when the city’s COVID case rates stays lower than 100 per 100,000 population for 10 days in a row.

Coun. Courtney Walcott and Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra presented a piece of urgent business at Monday’s meeting to bump that up to 28 consecutive days. The issue is due to be up for discussion later in the afternoon.

“Wearing a mask is a very, very minor inconvenience but it does a lot of good,” Carra said.

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Mobile vaccination outreach program extended

The Mobile Vaccination Van was set up at the Dalhousie Farmers’ Market in the Dalhousie Community Centre parking lot with no appointment necessary to get your COVID vaccine in Calgary on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.
The Mobile Vaccination Van was set up at the Dalhousie Farmers’ Market in the Dalhousie Community Centre parking lot with no appointment necessary to get your COVID vaccine in Calgary on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

The City of Calgary has extended the mobile vaccination outreach program for another month.

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The city partnered with Alberta Health back in September to bring mobile COVID-19 vaccinations to different areas of the city in an effort to remove barriers and make vaccinations more convenient.

Since then, more than 1,400 doses of the vaccine have been given out in six weeks, according to a press release. The program is now being extended to further support residents to get a third dose.

“Every vaccination is one more person less likely to experience serious effects from COIVD-19. Vaccination is our best way to combat this pandemic and reduce the strain on our medical care system,” said Chief Sue Henry from Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) in a press release.

The mobile stations will continue to be spread across the city, and Calgarians are able to find the schedule on Calgary.ca . Residents can request a mobile station in their community by calling 311.

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For Calgarians who want to be vaccinated but are still experiencing challenges, like childcare or mobility, CEMA and city partners can work to help them overcome these barriers and get vaccinated, according to the city.

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Five million dead (and rising) since COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China two years ago

Commuters walk along a railway platform after stepping out from a suburban local train in Kolkata on Nov. 1, 2021 as train services returned to normal.
Commuters walk along a railway platform after stepping out from a suburban local train in Kolkata on Nov. 1, 2021 as train services returned to normal. Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images

More than five million people worldwide have died from COVID-19 since the novel pathogen first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 — despite the arrival of vaccines that have slashed fatality rates across the globe, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest one million recorded deaths came slower than the previous two. It took more than 110 days to go from four million deaths to five million, compared to less than 90 days each to reach the three- and four-million marks. The rate has returned to what was seen during the first year of the pandemic, when the virus was still taking hold.Read more. 

Council to discuss change to mask bylaw

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At #yyccc, Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra and Coun. Courtney Walcott are bringing this as an item of urgent business. It’s added to the agenda — will be up for discussion later today. pic.twitter.com/3D7WuO9v65

— Madeline Smith (@meksmith) November 1, 2021


COVID and winter depression loom as ‘double whammy’ for northern countries

Seasonal affective disorder runs the spectrum from the winter blahs to full-blown depression that interferes with day-to-day functioning.
Seasonal affective disorder runs the spectrum from the winter blahs to full-blown depression that interferes with day-to-day functioning. Photo by Getty Images

When clocks fall back by one hour at 2 a.m. next weekend, ending daylight saving time and forcing a mass societal jet lag, it will also correlate with the onset of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to those who study the phenomenon.

Throw in a second winter of COVID and it could mean darker days than usual. “If you’ve got SAD and COVID anxiety,” said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, “it’s just a double whammy.”

Scientists still don’t fully understand SAD, and some have argued that the theory behind it, the idea that major depression can be influenced by the seasons, is more rooted in “folk psychology” than objective data. Still, a Canadian study using data from Statistics Canada surveys collected between 1996 and 2013 , that together included more than half a million Canadians, found the proportion of people reporting a major depressive episode in January was 70 per cent higher than in August.

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Thousands of guests locked in Shanghai Disneyland after woman tests COVID-19 positive

Medical personnel prepare to test visitors for COVID-19 at Disneyland in Shanghai after a woman tested positive on Oct. 31, 2021.
Medical personnel prepare to test visitors for COVID-19 at Disneyland in Shanghai after a woman tested positive on Oct. 31, 2021. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

While thousands of visitors to Shanghai Disneyland on Sunday were queuing for roller coasters and watching fireworks above the fairytale castle, staff quietly sealed the amusement park. People in Hazmat suits streamed in through the gates, preparing to test everyone for COVID-19 before they could leave for the day.

Nearly 34,000 people at Disneyland underwent testing, which ended close to midnight, long after the festivities at the park are usually finished. Ferried home on 220 special buses, all were found Monday to be negative but are still required to isolate at home for two days, and be re-tested for the coronavirus in two weeks.

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COVID-19 news from around Canada

Jimmy Staveris, manager of Dunn’s Famous restaurant in Montreal, scans the COVID-19 QR codes of customers.
Jimmy Staveris, manager of Dunn’s Famous restaurant in Montreal, scans the COVID-19 QR codes of customers. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Quebec is lifting capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants starting today, more than a year after imposing the limits to curb the spread of COVID-19. Health Minister Christian Dube announced last month that bars and restaurants across the province could operate at full capacity and resume normal operating hours starting Monday.

Ontario is reporting 340 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 223 of the latest infections are among those who are not fully vaccinated or whose immunization status is unknown. She says 117 cases involve fully vaccinated people.

British Columbia residents can now access the federal government’s proof-of-vaccination record allowing for travel within Canada and internationally. The provincial government says residents can now access the federal COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination card in the same way 3.7 million people downloaded their card for non-essential activities within the province.

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Quebec is reporting 567 new COVID-19 cases today, along with one more death related to the virus. Health officials issued a release saying hospitalizations fell by eight to 236, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by five to 62.



Droves of home care workers leave for hospitals and nursing homes

It costs more than $700 a day to treat a patient in hospital versus $200 a day for someone in long-term care and $103 for home care, says director of health policy research at the National Institute on Ageing.
It costs more than $700 a day to treat a patient in hospital versus $200 a day for someone in long-term care and $103 for home care, says director of health policy research at the National Institute on Ageing. Photo by File

TORONTO — Donna Marcaccio had been taking care of her sister, Marcia for years.

But when Marcia’s condition deteriorated and she needed palliative care about a year ago, Marcaccio reached out for help from Ontario’s home care system.

After waiting for a month, she found herself facing a revolving door of personal support workers, many of whom either arrived hours late or had no idea what to do. Then the last-minute cancellations started.

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“I stopped it, it was just so stressful,” Marcaccio said.

Nurses, personal support workers and therapists have left home care in droves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID ‘more likely lab leak than weapon,’ U.S. spies find

The Wuhan Institute of Virology pictured in February.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology pictured in February. Photo by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Coronavirus was not designed as a biological weapon but could have leaked from a Chinese lab, according to a declassified report from US intelligence.

The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said the lab leak or animal-to-human transmission were both plausible explanations for how coronavirus first infected humans.

The report, which China branded a “farce”, said agencies may never be able to identify the source of the pandemic but dismissed accusations that coronavirus was developed as a bioweapon.

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Sunday

Australia eases international border ban for first time since March 2020

The first International traveller arrives at Sydney Airport in the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) border restrictions easing, with fully vaccinated Australians being allowed into Sydney from overseas without quarantine for the first time since March 2020, in Sydney, Australia, November 1, 2021.
The first International traveller arrives at Sydney Airport in the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) border restrictions easing, with fully vaccinated Australians being allowed into Sydney from overseas without quarantine for the first time since March 2020, in Sydney, Australia, November 1, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

MELBOURNE — Australia eased its international borders restrictions on Monday, allowing some of its vaccinated public to travel freely and many families to reunite for the first time since March last year.

After 18 months of some of the world’s strictest coronavirus border policies that banned citizens from coming back into the country, and leaving it, unless granted an exemption, some 14 million Australians in Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra are now free to travel.

More than 80 per cent of people 16 and older in those two states and the capital territory are fully vaccinated – a condition for the resumption of international travel.

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Saturday

Canada to donate 10 million doses of Moderna vaccine to COVAX

Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto.
Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images files

ROME — Canada will donate 10 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX vaccine sharing facility and another $15 million to help make mRNA vaccines in Africa, the Prime Minister announced Saturday.

Justin Trudeau revealed details of the donations in Rome while attending the G20 leaders’ summit. Canada would also increase its financial contribution to the global vaccine sharing alliance, he said, with a goal of donating or paying for at least 200 million vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries by the end of next year.

Canada has previously promised to donate 40 million doses from its own contracts, and pay for an estimated 87 million more through more than $500 million in cash donations to COVAX.

To date, 3.4 million doses have been delivered from Canada’s contracts. The funding has been delivered, but it’s not clear how many doses have been purchased with Canada’s money.

Securing supplies of vaccine is tricky because wealthy countries snapped up most of the early supplies.

Read more.

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