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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Friday, Dec. 10

The province recorded four new cases of the omicron variant, bringing the provincial total to 23 Friday.

Province recorded 287 new cases Friday, including 4 of the omicron variant

As of Friday, 71.5 per cent of the province's total population — or 75.9 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages five years and older) — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Submitted by AHS)

The latest COVID-19 numbers: 

  • The Alberta government reported Friday:   
         
    • There are 287 new COVID cases.
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    • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 4,059.
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    • Alberta Health says there are 367 people with COVID in hospital, including 71 in intensive care. 
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    • The province reported one new COVID-related death Friday — a woman in her 70s with pre-existing conditions from the North Zone of the province.
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    • A total of 3,272 Albertans have died of COVID since the pandemic began.
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  • 331,097 Albertans are considered to have recovered.
  • There are active alerts or outbreaks in 140 schools.
  • The province recorded four new cases of the omicron variant, bringing the provincial total on Friday to 23.
  • Omicron was named a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Its emergence has prompted the return of border closures, travel restrictions and stricter testing requirements across the world.
  • AHS told CBC News on Wednesday that there was no evidence of community transmission.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said two meetings — Thursday and another next week — have been scheduled to discuss restrictions and the state of the virus.
  • Provincewide, the R-value for Nov. 8 to 28 was 0.88, with a confidence interval between 0.84 and 0.91. An R-value below 1.0 means transmission is no longer growing.
  • The R-value for the Edmonton zone is 0.95, and in Calgary, 0.90. In the rest of Alberta the rate is 0.80.
  • In response to falling COVID-19 numbers across the province, the government generally only gives live media updates once a week and otherwise posts daily numbers online.

The latest on vaccines:

  • Alberta Health Services tweeted Friday that it has received reports of a scam in which texts that appear to be from AHS promise Albertans money for getting a COVID-19 vaccine and ask for credit card information.
  • AHS tweeted Wednesday that it is aware of misinformation being spread that children are being hospitalized at the Alberta Children's Hospital with adverse reactions following COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • AHS said that is untrue and there haven't been any pediatric hospitalizations related to COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Alberta is in the process of expanding access to vaccine booster shots to all Albertans ages 18 and older, six months out from their second dose of the vaccine, starting with select groups.   
         
    • It opened up to those 60 and older starting Monday (Dec. 6).​​​​​​
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    • The first groups to be eligible for a third dose as of Nov. 8 were people 70 or older, First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents and frontline health-care workers. 
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    • The province says bookings for all adults over the age of 18 will open by early next year. 
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  • As of Dec. 10,   
         
    • 71.5 per cent of the province's total population — or 75.9 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages five years and older) — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
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    • Out of the province's total population, 77 per cent have received at least one dose, or 81.8 per cent (ages 5 and over), according to CBC's vaccine tracker. 
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    • That compares with 80.6 per cent of the total population Canada-wide who have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.9 per cent of the total population who are fully vaccinated. Among those eligible, 84.7 per cent have had one dose, and 79.9 per cent are fully vaccinated.
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    • The percentage of eligible people in Alberta who are vaccinated dropped on Nov. 26, when children between the ages of five to 11 were added to the population of those eligible.
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  • Children's COVID-19 vaccination appointments began Nov. 26 between the ages of 5 and 11, dropping.   
         
    • They're being delivered to 120 vaccination clinics (not in schools).
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    • Hinshaw said on Dec. 1 that she had heard of a "concerning trend" of parents withdrawing consent for all vaccines at schools because they were worried their children could receive a COVID-19 vaccine without their knowledge. 
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    • "I want to be crystal clear that no child will receive any vaccine in school without their parent or guardian's consent and knowledge," Hinshaw said. 
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    • Children who live on a First Nations reserve can access doses through nursing stations or public health clinics.
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    • Regardless of whether they are vaccinated, children ages five to 11 will not be subject to Alberta's restrictions exemption program (see below).
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  • Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 cannot board a plane or train in Canada as of Nov. 30, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people.   
         
    • Alberta's vaccine record now meets the recommended Canadian standard for domestic and international travel.
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  • The Alberta government is now advising that anyone between the ages of 12 and 29 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rather than Moderna.
  • The province said Nov. 23 it is now recommending an eight-week interval between mRNA vaccines.
  • The Alberta government imposed the restrictions exemption program, a voluntary vaccine passport system, as of Sept. 20 to combat a disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19.   
         
    • As of Nov. 15, anyone wanting to enter a business taking part in the program must present proof of vaccination that includes a QR code. For those over 18, valid identification matching that record is also required.
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    • Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing.
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    • As of Nov. 29, ski hills could operate outdoor activities without implementing the program. Masking are still be required in enclosed areas.
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    • Ski hill operators can implement the program for indoor areas to permit indoor dining and other activities.
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    • A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government's website
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  • Kenney said Friday that an announcement will come on Tuesday about plans for the distribution of rapid antigen tests.
  • Pressure has been mounting for the province to share its stockpile of rapid COVID-19 tests more widely with Albertans ahead of the holidays. The federal government has supplied more than 11 million of the tests, and the province still has roughly 5.5 million in storage.
  • Kenney said earlier this week that Alberta's public health rules for the holidays will be decided shortly. 
  • The City of Calgary's state of local emergency expired on Dec. 2. However, the vaccine passport bylaw and face covering bylaw remain in place.
  • On  Nov. 15, Calgary city council voted unanimously in favour of extending the city's mandatory vaccination policy for staff to include citizen members appointed to boards, commissions and committees. As of Dec. 1, those who are not vaccinated are required to continue to participate in the rapid testing program on their own time and at their own expense.
  • Alberta public sector workers will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The policy, approved by the province's COVID-19 cabinet committee will affect 25,500 provincial employees who must all submit proof of full vaccination by Nov. 30.
  • AHS extended a deadline for employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers to comply with its mandatory immunization policy until Dec. 13.
  • CBC Calgary reported on Dec. 10 that the Calgary Catholic School District says it has used more than 10,000 rapid COVID-19 test kits provided by the province so far this school year, with half of those being used by staff not fully vaccinated participating in the district's mandatory rapid testing program.
  • Meanwhile, the Calgary Board of Education said it is not providing rapid tests for staff.

The latest on surgeries, hospitals, mask bylaws and more: ​​​​​​

  • AHS has begun administering a new monoclonal antibody treatment that was recently approved by Health Canada, Hinshaw said on Nov. 9.   
         
    • Sotrovimab is a new drug developed for treating patients with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms.
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    • It is the first treatment to be offered to outpatients in Alberta.
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    • AHS told CBC News on Monday that so far, it has administered Sotrovimab a total of 34 times.
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See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Friday:

  • Calgary zone: 1,672.
  • Edmonton zone: 1,172.
  • Central zone: 520.
  • North zone: 457.
  • South zone: 234.
  • Unknown: 4.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

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