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351 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Sunday, 16 new in Lethbridge – Lethbridge News Now

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“As we begin stage one of our path forward tomorrow, let’s continue to make safe, responsible choices to help keep our cases and hospitalization numbers on their downward trend,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

On the vaccine front, as of Feb. 6, 118,384 doses have been administered in Alberta. For testing, 3,244,309 tests have been completed with 1,773,905 people tested.

Below is a breakdown of cases per provincial health zone:

  • Edmonton Zone – 52,139 cases, 1,889 active
    • 169 in hospital, 25 in ICU
    • 888 deaths (three new)
  • Calgary Zone – 48,728 cases, 2,508 active
    • 153 in hospital, 34 in ICU
    • 533 deaths (one new)
  • North Zone – 10,544 cases, 814 active
    • 46 in hospital, eight in ICU
    • 117 deaths
  • Central Zone – 9,214 cases, 694 active
    • 32 in hospital, four in ICU
    • 97 deaths
  • South Zone – 6,017 cases, 318 active
    • 34 in hospital, 10 in ICU
    • 74 deaths

The province lists 125 cases in unknown zones, with 19 of those active.

Officials are also monitoring the variant strains of COVID-19. Those case numbers are updated Fridays and Tuesday.

As of Friday, Feb. 5, 71 cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom have been detected in Alberta. Seven cases of the variant first identified in South Africa have ben confirmed in the province.

Below is a breakdown of cases in the South Health Zone:

  • Brooks – 1,364 cases (two new), four active, 14 deaths
  • Lethbridge – 1,805 cases (16 new), 175 active, 13 deaths
    • West Lethbridge – 637 cases, 40 active, two deaths
    • South Lethbridge – 630 cases, 81 active, 10 deaths
    • North Lethbridge – 537 cases, 51 active, one death
  • Medicine Hat – 532 cases, 13 active, 14 deaths
  • Lethbridge County – 518 cases, 14 active, seven deaths
  • Cardston County – 513 cases (eight new), 66 active, seven deaths
  • M.D. of Taber – 332 cases, four active, six deaths
  • M.D. of Pincher Creek – 198 cases (one new), 25 active, four deaths
  • County of Warner – 157 cases, one active, two deaths
  • County of Newell – 158 cases, two active, two deaths
  • Cypress County – 145 cases, two active, zero deaths
  • County of Forty Mile – 117 cases, zero active, two deaths
  • Fort Macleod – 94 cases (one new), two active, three deaths
  • Crowsnest Pass – 24 cases, five active, zero deaths

As well, the Cargill meat-processing plant in High River is facing a new outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Officials say there are 11 cases linked to the facility and of those, seven are active. An outbreak last spring saw at leas 950 staff test positive.

RELATED: Alberta RCMP reviewing whether COVID-19 death of meat-plant worker was criminal

EASING OF RESTRICTIONS

The next live COVID-19 update from the province will be on Monday, Feb. 8.

Additionally, Monday marks the launch of step one of the Alberta’s four-step framework to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the changes coming into effect, limited school and minor sport training will once again be permitted.

READ MORE: Limited school and team sports allowed as of Monday

More details on the province’s four-step approach can be found here.

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Experts caution against the temptation to comparison shop COVID-19 vaccines – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, February 27, 2021 3:01PM EST


Last Updated Saturday, February 27, 2021 3:13PM EST

TORONTO – While it’s tempting to compare various aspects of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s newly approved COVID-19 vaccine to others, several experts cautioned against focusing on data that is not comparable and the danger of underrating the product’s ability to curb hospitalizations and deaths.

Health Canada’s long-awaited announcement Friday that a third vaccine would soon be deployed came just as the provinces faced heightened scrutiny over regional immunization plans that vary by timeline, age eligibility and priority groups.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the boost to Canada’s pandemic arsenal would mean “more people vaccinated, and sooner,” and would be key to helping contain spread.

Nevertheless, Health Canada chief medical advisor Dr. Supriya Sharma acknowledged questions over how the public should evaluate trial results that show AstraZeneca has an efficacy of 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic cases. That’s compared to the 95 per cent efficacy of the country’s two other approved vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

But Sharma stressed that all three have been shown to prevent 100 per cent of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.

“Each vaccine has unique characteristics and Health Canada’s review has confirmed that the benefits of the viral vector-based vaccine, as with the other authorized vaccines, outweigh their potential risks,” Sharma said.

Several medical experts including Dr. Stephen Hwang say Canadians do not have the luxury to pick-and-choose as long as COVID-19 cases continue to rage in several hot spots and strain health-care systems.

With multiple COVID-19 projections warning of a variant-fuelled third wave without tighter suppression measures, any tool that can slow the pandemic should be embraced, he argued.

“It would be important for people to be vaccinated with whichever vaccine is first available in their community to them, rather than trying to hold out for a specific vaccine,” advised Hwang, who treats COVID-19 patients at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Still, Toronto resident Maria Brum couldn’t help but question whether AstraZeneca was safe for her 79-year-old mother.

The vaccine was not tested on people over the age of 65. Health Canada, however, says real-world data from countries already using the product suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups, promising an update on efficacy in the age group as more data comes in.

“I personally would take that one out as an option for my mom,” said Brum, who is her mother’s main caregiver.

“Maybe I am wrong but, I don’t know, I don’t see that it’s more useful. I’d like to see one that has a higher percentage of (efficacy).”

As for herself, Brum said she has allergies that she believes may put her at greater risk of adverse reactions and so she is unsure whether she can take any vaccine.

But she’d like the option of choosing, if possible, even while acknowledging that limited supply could make that unlikely.

“As a Canadian, I would like to see us all have choices, regardless of age, gender, or ability,” says Brum.

“I’m going to wait where I can have more choices.”

Such hesitancy could pose public health challenges to Canada reaching the vaccination coverage needed to build protective immunity against COVID-19, said Hwang.

He noted that Germany has seen a reported preference among some for the vaccine made by Germany’s BioNTech with Pfizer, as well as a misconception that the AstraZeneca vaccine is inferior because of a lower efficacy rate.

Hwang says efficacy between vaccines cannot be compared because each involved completely different trials at different time periods, in different countries, with different volunteers of different age groups and varying trial design.

“Until we have direct comparison studies where we give people one vaccine versus another and directly compare, it’s very difficult to know for sure how it’s going to pan out,” he says.

Then there’s the fact Canada’s initial AstraZeneca doses will be made at the Serum Institute of India, which dubs its version CoviShield, while later packages will be produced at the drug giant’s own manufacturing facilities.

Hwang acknowledges that could invite further scrutiny but says the Pune, India-based biotech firm has a “strong track record of producing vaccines.”

Sharma also stressed the similarities between the two shots Friday.

“For all intents and purposes they’re the same vaccine,” said Sharma.

“There are some slight differences in terms of manufacturing and the places that they are manufactured are different. The analogy is a bit like the recipe – so the recipe for the vaccine is the same, but they’re manufactured in different kitchens.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021.

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AstraZeneca-Oxford co-creator on efficacy of vaccine – CBC News

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  1. AstraZeneca-Oxford co-creator on efficacy of vaccine  CBC News
  2. Nova Scotia to see AstraZeneca vaccine in ‘limited amounts’: Strang  HalifaxToday.ca
  3. Are you satisfied with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.?  Castanet.net
  4. Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday  CBC.ca
  5. How the approved AstraZeneca vaccine could affect B.C.’s mass vaccination plans  CTV News Vancouver
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Manitoba Awaits Word On AstraZeneca Vaccine Shipment – Steinbachonline.com – SteinbachOnline.com

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  1. Manitoba Awaits Word On AstraZeneca Vaccine Shipment – Steinbachonline.com  SteinbachOnline.com
  2. Canada’s vaccine arsenal could get another addition within weeks: senior health official  CTV News
  3. Experts caution against comparison shopping of COVID-19 vaccines  News 1130
  4. EDITORIAL: Canada’s AstraZeneca question is now about roll-out  Toronto Sun
  5. Explaining the vaccine from the ground level | Opinion | triplicate.com  The Triplicate
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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