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Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Nov. 1

Alberta reported 533 new cases of COVID on Friday, 335 cases on Saturday and 342 cases on Sunday, for a total of 1,210.

Alberta reported 1,210 new cases over the weekend

Registered Pharmacy Technician Tamara Rumsey prepares COVID-19 vaccines in Toronto on Dec. 15, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The latest on COVID-19 in Alberta:

  • Alberta reported 533 cases on Friday, 335 cases on Saturday and 342 cases on Sunday, for a total of 1,210.
  • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 7,580.
  • Since the pandemic began, 3,111 Albertans have died of COVID.
  • The City of Calgary's mandatory vaccination policy came into force on Nov. 1. It's requiring all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of whether they work in the office, at home or elsewhere. As of last week, it said that 86 per cent of its staff have had at least one dose. That's nearly 11,000 employees.
  • The city says employees who are not fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 are required to take part in a rapid testing program and a mandatory education program about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • As of Dec. 1, those who are not vaccinated will be required to continue to participate in the rapid testing program on their own time and at their own expense.
  • Among Calgary Fire Department employees, 80 per cent are fully vaccinated and two per cent partially vaccinated.
  • The Calgary Police Service reports 85 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated and three per cent are partially vaccinated.
  • New modelling projects daily COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions in Alberta will continue to decline if the province stays the course. University of Victoria physics professor and member of British Columbia's independent COVID-19 modelling group Dean Karlen says it's been a rapid drop — around three or four per cent per day, faster than in B.C.
  • COVID-19 cases have dropped drastically in the past six weeks, but an infectious disease expert says pressure on Alberta's health system remains high. 
  • Daily case counts have had much of the attention for the past 19 months, but Craig Jenne, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Calgary, says Albertans should look at the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions as a key metric. 
  • In figures reported Saturday, Alberta Health Services said there are 243 patients in ICU, about two thirds of whom are COVID positive.
  • Provincially, ICU capacity (including additional surge beds) is at 76 per cent. Without the additional surge spaces, ICU capacity would be at 140 per cent, AHS says. 
  • Alberta is reporting an R-value below 1. The R-value is the average number of COVID-19 infections transmitted by each diagnosed case.
  • An R-value below 1 means transmission is no longer growing. Provincewide, the R-value for Oct. 11-17 was 0.85, with a confidence interval between 0.83 and 0.88. 
  • The positivity rate was 5.35 per cent.
  • 313,508 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.​​​​

WATCH | Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the province needs to remain vigilant:

Hinshaw says fifth wave still possible in Alberta

10 months ago
Duration 1:38
Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday that the province needs to remain vigilant and vaccination efforts cannot stop now.
  • An outbreak has been declared in the acute care unit at Rocky Mountain House Health Centre, says Alberta Health Services. There are currently 32 confirmed cases, including 17 patients and 15 staff. The hospital has paused admissions and is diverting obstetrical patients to other facilities, such as Red Deer.
  • Hinshaw said Tuesday Alberta did not see an increase in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving, but health officials continue to monitor for any possible "secondary impact."
  • With pressure easing slightly on ICUs, AHS is reducing available surge beds to redeploy staff back to caring for non-COVID patients who need surgeries and procedures completed, an AHS spokesperson said Monday. 
  • AHS said they will maintain ICU capacity above daily demand to a planned maximum of 380 beds as long as staff and physician availability allows, and will readjust plans as needed if COVID cases rise again.
  • Across the province, there are 323 general adult ICU beds open, including 150 additional spaces (more than twice the baseline 173 general adult ICU beds).
  • Doctors are resuming some surgeries after bookings had been scaled back by 75 per cent. But there is no timeline on when the province will be able to return to normal surgical volumes.
  • The Alberta government has released an app to scan and verify QR code vaccine records. The AB COVID Records Verifier app is available to download on Apple and Android devices. 
  • Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine records with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.

The latest on Alberta's COVID-19 response: ​​​​​​

  • Nine Canadian Armed Forces nurses who've been helping care for COVID-19 patients at an Edmonton hospital are on their way back to their home units.
  • As of Oct. 25, Albertans aged 12 and older need to provide proof of full vaccination — two COVID-19 vaccine doses — to access restaurants, movies, sporting events and other businesses provincewide operating under the province's Restrictions Exemption Program.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated can still opt to provide a privately-paid negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours or valid proof of a medical exemption.
  • Kenney's government imposed the voluntary vaccine passport system that took effect Sept. 20 to combat the fourth wave of COVID-19.
  • Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part, will have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing.
  • A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government's website
  • On Sept. 22, Calgary city council approved a bylaw that brings in consistent application of the province's vaccine passport program for many types of businesses in the city. 
  • Personal information belonging to more than 17,000 users of the private proof-of-vaccination app Portpass is still unsecured and visible online — including, in some cases, photos of drivers' licences and passports — despite assurances from the company that its data-security problems have been fixed.
  • AHS is extending the deadline for employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers to comply with its mandatory immunization policy until Nov. 30. 
  • About 92 per cent of all staff at Alberta Health Services have submitted proof they have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccinations as required under a policy introduced in August, Yiu told a news conference on Oct. 19.
  • Seven per cent of staff have yet to submit proof of vaccination, while less than one per cent — about 1,200 staffers — have requested accommodation on medical or religious grounds.
  • Yiu said 61 employees have resigned their positions specifically because of the vaccination policy. That includes 31 staffers in clinical roles; 11 of them are registered nurses.

WATCH | AHS CEO says vast majority of AHS workers are fully vaccinated:

AHS CEO breaks down staff vaccination rates

10 months ago
Duration 2:48
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, says 92 per cent of AHS employees are fully vaccinated and doesn’t believe the vaccination policy will have a significant impact on the ability to provide health care.
  • A Calgary-based real estate company is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all new residents as well as its employees. Strategic Group, which rents out more than 1,500 suites in Calgary and Edmonton, announced the new policy on Thursday.
  • Hinshaw announced new measures for continuing care facilities that started Oct. 25. All visitors will be required to wear a mask in all indoor areas of the building, including in residents' rooms. All residents must also quarantine after returning from a hospital stay of 24 hours or more until they get a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • The City of Calgary is opening applications for a new grant program for local business operators, owners and entities that are impacted by the Provincial Restrictions Exemption Program. The Calgary Business Support Grant will give $2,000 per physical permanent premise.
  • The province announced new measures to protect children and youth from COVID-19 on Oct. 5. Contact tracing in schools will be phased in, outbreaks will be declared in schools, and rapid-test kits will be made available for parents to test younger children.
  • Politicians and staff at the Alberta Legislature will all be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time the sitting resumes on Oct. 25, government House leader Jason Nixon said Tuesday.
  • Alberta public sector workers will soon 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.

    The latest on vaccines:

    • 67.9 per cent of the province's total population have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 79.8 per cent of eligible Albertans.
    • Out of the province's total population, 73.9 per cent have received at least one dose, or 86.9 per cent of those eligible.
    • Canada-wide, 77.6 per cent of the total population have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 73.5 per cent of the total population are fully vaccinated, according to the CBC's vaccine tracker. Among those eligible, 88.6 per cent have had one dose and 84 per cent are fully vaccinated.
    • Alberta has expanded the number of immunocompromised people who are eligible for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The full list of eligible people can be found on the province's website
    • In addition, mRNA doses — that's Pfizer or Moderna — are available to Albertans travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors vaccinated with mixed doses.

    See which regions are being hit hardest:

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

    • Edmonton zone: 1,724.
    • Calgary zone: 1,985.
    • North zone: 1,606.
    • Central zone: 1,457.
    • South zone: 798.
    • Unknown: 10.

    Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

    With files from The Canadian Press

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