COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Nov. 30

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.

Advertisement

Article content


What’s happening now

Advertisement

Article content



As Omicron looms, advocates want vaccines available in schools

Desks in a classroom at St. Marguerite School in New Brighton on Aug. 25, 2020.
Desks in a classroom at St. Marguerite School in New Brighton on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

As concern rises around the new and potentially dangerous Omicron variant, school safety advocates are demanding the Alberta government step up vaccine efforts for children as data shows less than 20 per cent will receive first doses by year’s end.

After nearly a week of vaccine availability for the youngest demographic, only 26,844, or 6.9 per cent, of Alberta children have received their first dose of the COVID-19 immunization.

And while 57,200, or 14.7 per cent, are booked for appointments over the next four weeks, the totals combined still represent about 20 per cent of kids aged five to 11 getting their first doses by the end of December.

Read more.

Advertisement

Article content



B.C. identifies first Omicron variant while 204 others are tested

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Photo by Don Craig/Postmedia

A person who recently returned to British Columbia from Nigeria has been identified as the province’s first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.

B.C. has now become the fourth province to identify a case of the variant of concern.

Henry said the affected person lives in the area covered by the Fraser Health authority.

“They are isolating and public health is, as we do with every case, following up with them and their contacts at this time,” she said at a news conference.

Read more .


With emergence of the Omicron, Canada must finally waive COVID-19 vaccine patents: Singh

“Mr. Trudeau needs to take a position.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during question period in the House of Commons on November 30, 2021.
“Mr. Trudeau needs to take a position.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during question period in the House of Commons on November 30, 2021. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says the emergence of the Omicron variant means the Liberal government must finally back international calls to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines.

Advertisement

Article content

“With what we’re seeing in the Omicron variant, is that unless and until we do our part in tackling the global pandemic, meaning we help people around the world, we will not be able to beat this pandemic,” Singh told reporters on Parliament Hill Tuesday.

He said allowing developing countries, which have fewer resources to buy vaccines, to manufacture their own is one of the most important ways to tackle COVID.

Read more .


Alberta not adopting federal messaging shift on airborne COVID-19 spread

People wearing masks walk through the Plus-15 in downtown Calgary on Sept. 8, 2021.
People wearing masks walk through the Plus-15 in downtown Calgary on Sept. 8, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Alberta is updating its mask-use guidelines in the light of a recent messaging shift from Canada’s top doctor on the risk of airborne spread of COVID-19, but the province is otherwise continuing to use a year-old document which considers aerosol virus transmission to be a non-dominant form of spread.

Advertisement

Article content

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in mid-November that respiratory aerosols — microscopic airborne particles which can carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 — can linger in air much like smoke , underlining the importance of mask use and ventilation in indoor spaces as virus mitigation measures.

When asked Monday how Alberta was adjusting its pandemic response to reflect the updated federal messaging, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta had released a document in November 2020 identifying risk factors of airborne spread which has been used in shaping the province’s public-health decisions.

Read more .


Alberta reports 238 new cases, six deaths

Advertisement

Article content

Here are updated COVID-19 numbers released by Alberta Health Services on Tuesday:

  • Alberta is reporting 238 new cases Tuesday.
  • Six new COVID-related deaths have been reported to Alberta Health Services. There have been 123 deaths in November and 3,248 since the start of the pandemic.
  • There are 434 people in hospital with COVID-19, two more than reported Monday. There are 81 people in intensive care, four more than Monday.
  • There are now 4,545 active infections in Alberta, a drop of 305 from Monday. The Calgary zone has 1,761 active cases, down 86 from Monday.
  • There were 5,350 tests conducted Monday, with a 4.36% positivity rate (seven-day average).
  • Currently, 83.9% of Albertans age 12+ are fully vaccinated. Of children age 5-11, 6.9% have received their first shot (26,844 total doses).

Advertisement

Article content


All travellers arriving by air, except from U.S., need COVID-19 test at airport

A Delta Airlines flight lands at the Calgary International Airport on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
A Delta Airlines flight lands at the Calgary International Airport on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Gavin Young/Postmedia

All air travellers entering Canada, except for those coming from the United States, will now need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and isolate until they get their results, even if they are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government will consult with provinces and territories Tuesday evening, before bringing in similar measures for travellers coming from the U.S.

The federal government is also expanding its border closure to foreign nationals who have recently travelled through three more African countries where officials first became aware of the new variant. The ban will now apply to Egypt, Malawi and Nigeria, in addition to the seven southern African countries announced last week.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more .


Hinshaw says Omicron variant has been detected in Alberta

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Photo by David Bloom/Postmedia

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there is now one confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19

The case was confirmed in a person who was travelling from Nigeria and the Netherlands. The person was found to be positive while they were asymptomatic, and they have remained in quarantine.

Hinshaw said it is important not to stigmatize the person who tested positive, as they did nothing wrong.

There have been 238 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the past 24 hours, and six new deaths.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more .

Watch a livestream of her press conference below.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Advertisement

Article content


Calgary to end State of Local Emergency on Thursday

Calgary City Hall was photographed on Monday, November 22, 2021.
Calgary City Hall was photographed on Monday, November 22, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

The City of Calgary’s current state of local emergency will be allowed to expire on Thursday, as the powers it grants are no longer deemed necessary.

The state of local emergency has been in place since Sept. 3. The city’s Municipal Emergency Plan will remain active, and the vaccine passport and face covering bylaws will remain in place.

In a release from the city, Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Susan Henry said citizens need remain vigilant.

“While it’s encouraging to see the case counts and severe outcomes are trending downward again, we remain in a pandemic and cannot drop our guard against this virus,” she said. “Calgarians know what we need to do. We need to get vaccinated, follow the public health rules and work together to prevent the spread.”

Advertisement

Article content

In the same release, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said widespread uptake of vaccines plus masking has allowed businesses and the economy to remain open.

“Calgarians must remember the pandemic is not yet over and we must remain vigilant,” said Gondek. “Please continue to wear your masks and get yourself and your kids vaccinated.”


Unvaccinated travellers barred from planes and trains as of today

A WestJet Boeing 737 lands at the Calgary International Airport on Nov. 18, 2021.
A WestJet Boeing 737 lands at the Calgary International Airport on Nov. 18, 2021. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 won’t be able to board a plane or train in Canada beginning today, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people.

The policy came into effect on Oct. 30, but the federal government allowed a short transition period for unvaccinated travellers who could board as long as they provided a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their trip.

Advertisement

Article content

The stringent new requirement comes into effect as Canada reacts to the emergence of the new, highly mutated Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The discovery of the new variant has prompted border closures and heavier screening in Canada and abroad over fears it could prove more transmissible.

Read more.


Moderna CEO warns COVID-19 shots less effective against Omicron — and stock markets are spooked

Moderna’s CEO set off fresh alarm bells after he warned that COVID-19 vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against the Delta version.
Moderna’s CEO set off fresh alarm bells after he warned that COVID-19 vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against the Delta version. Photo by Tony Caldwell/Postmedia/Photo Illustration

Drugmaker Moderna’s CEO set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday after he warned that COVID-19 vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against the Delta version.

Crude oil futures shed more than a dollar, the Australian currency hit a year low, and Nikkei gave up gains as Stéphane Bancel’s comments spurred fears that vaccine resistance could lead to more sickness and hospitalizations, prolonging the pandemic.

Advertisement

Article content

“There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level . . . we had with Delta,” Moderna CEO Bancel  told the Financial Times in an interview.

“I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to … are like ‘this is not going to be good’,” Bancel said.

Read more.


Alberta’s vaccine QR code now meets Canadian standards

After a delay with technical issues, Alberta’s COVID records website has now been updated with the new QR code to meet Canadian Standards.

This record should be printed or screenshot as your proof of vaccination when travelling internationally and within Canada.

Businesses or venues will scan the QR code with an app to verify vaccination status. The province also points out that this does not store any personal information.

Advertisement

Article content


Monday

806 new cases, seven deaths over three days

Here are updated COVID-19 numbers released by Alberta Health Services on Monday:

  • Alberta is reporting a total of 806 new cases over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • There were seven COVID-related deaths reported to Alberta Health Services over those three days. There have been 118 deaths in November and 3,242 since the start of the pandemic.
  • There are 432 people in hospital with COVID-19, 23 fewer than Friday. There are 77 people in intensive care, 12 fewer than Friday.
  • There are now 4,850 active infections in Alberta, a drop of 167. The Calgary zone has 1,847 active cases, down 27.
  • There were 19,156 tests conducted over three days, with a 4.48% positivity rate (seven-day average).

Advertisement

Article content


Monday

Alberta enhancing contact tracing for returning travellers in effort to curb transmission of Omicron variant

Premier Jason Kenney.
Premier Jason Kenney. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

More than 100 travellers who recently returned to Alberta from countries where the Omicron variant is spreading have been instructed to quarantine, as Premier Jason Kenney announced new measures meant to contain the variant of concern on Monday.

The eventual arrival of the Omicron variant to the province  is expected;  however, enhanced contact tracing and notification, PCR testing for close contacts and rapid testing for households and settings like schools are being introduced for cases of COVID-19 detected among returning international travellers in an effort to curb transmission.

Advertisement

Article content

As well, for any Omicron cases among people who did not travel, Kenney said all close contacts will be investigated and asked about symptoms 14 days after exposure.

Read more.


Monday

With about 3,000 staff unvaccinated, AHS delays jab mandate, introduces rapid testing in some areas

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services.
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services. Photo by David Bloom/Postmedia

Alberta Health Services is delaying the implementation of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and introducing a rapid testing program in areas where the vaccine requirement could cause staffing shortages.

The provincial government directed the health authority’s policy changes after about 3,000 AHS staff either did not provide proof of vaccination or decided not to get the shot ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline. That deadline has been extended to Dec. 13. It’s the second time AHS has pushed back its staff vaccine mandate, after  previously giving staff an extra month  to get their shots.

Advertisement

Article content

Rapid testing will only be an option beginning Dec. 13 for unvaccinated employees in a “small number” of clinical workplaces where there would be a “significant risk of service disruption” if staff were put on a leave of absence.

AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said the health authority has done all it can to encourage unvaccinated staff to roll up their sleeves  since announcing the policy in late August.

She said rapid testing will only be available as a temporary alternative to immunization in a very limited scope of workplaces.

Read more.


Monday

Alberta human rights review rejects shopper’s mandatory masking complaint

Community Natural Foods was photographed on Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Community Natural Foods was photographed on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Alberta’s human rights commission will not hear the case of a Calgary man who says a retailer’s mandatory masking policy discriminates against his physical disability and religious beliefs.

Advertisement

Article content

David Pelletier argued Community Natural Foods infringed his rights by refusing him entry into a store without a mask last January.

An initial investigation of his complaint recommended it be dismissed; a decision that was upheld in a second review completed by commission chief Michael Gottheil.

Read more.


Monday

$2,000 fine imposed on Edmonton lawyer found in contempt for not wearing mask in court

Defence lawyer Peter Royal.
Defence lawyer Peter Royal. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia, file

A judge ruled Monday that an Edmonton lawyer who refused to wear a face mask in court during the COVID-19 pandemic acted in contempt and imposed a fine.

Peter Royal, a prominent defence lawyer, was cited with contempt of court after a July 21 hearing in which he refused the orders of Judge Marilena Carminati to wear a face-covering while speaking.

Advertisement

Article content

As a result of the incident, that trial was adjourned.

While reading his decision, Judge Bruce Fraser, who was brought in from Calgary for the proceedings, noted that the July hearing was part of a sexual assault trial that had already been adjourned three times.

While Royal was not counsel on the previous trial dates, Fraser said, he was counsel on the July date and either had to know or ought to have known the history of the file, and his defiance interfered with the fair and orderly administration of justice by obstructing the proceedings of that trial.

Read more.


Monday

What is known so far about the Omicron variant, which has been found in Canada

A passenger walks through the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Monday. Dutch health authorities said as of Nov. 29, the Omicron variant has been detected in 14 passengers arriving from South Africa.
A passenger walks through the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Monday. Dutch health authorities said as of Nov. 29, the Omicron variant has been detected in 14 passengers arriving from South Africa. Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Canada’s first two cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern were confirmed Sunday in Ottawa, and a third case was confirmed in Quebec on Monday.

Advertisement

Article content

The variant, which may be more transmissible, was first detected in South Africa, where it coincided with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Here’s what we know about it so far.

Read more.


Monday

Omicron variant likely in global circulation for ‘weeks if not months’ as Canada discovers more cases

International travellers wearing personal protective equipment arrive at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Nov. 29, 2021, as Australia records its first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
International travellers wearing personal protective equipment arrive at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Nov. 29, 2021, as Australia records its first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely already in circulation in Canada, health officials said Monday, as cases were reported in Quebec and Ontario, just as they have been across Europe and Africa, just days after the World Health Organization flagged the potentially dangerous new mutation.

After finding the first two North American cases in travellers from Nigeria, health officials in Ontario are anticipating imminent test results from four other people suspected of having this worrying new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. Quebec reported its first confirmed case Monday afternoon.

Advertisement

Article content

Read more.


Monday

How Omicron could impact the economy as virus reaches from Australia to Canada in widening spread

The omicron variant of COVID-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to Germany and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains.
The omicron variant of COVID-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to Germany and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains. Photo by Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Omicron variant is dealing a blow to optimistic hopes that the world economy would enter 2022 on a firmer footing, potentially undermining plans by policy makers to focus on inflation rather than weak demand.

The imposition of travel restrictions will shake consumer and corporate confidence, likely limiting activity in some places just as the holiday season gets underway in many economies. Japan will effectively ban the entry of all foreign visitors as part of its plan to curb the virus spread, broadcaster NTV reported.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations  from Australia to Germany and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains.

Researchers worldwide are racing to  understand the full impact of the new strain  , and governments have banned travellers from South Africa and nearby countries on concerns omicron could evade the protection of vaccines and fuel new surges.

Read more.

Advertisement

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.

Leave a Reply