Alberta is not bringing in any new health measures, despite Friday’s announcement of a record 1,155 new cases of COVID-19.
“Our current situation is grim,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.
But Hinshaw said officials are waiting to see if measures announced one week ago have an effect on case numbers before pursuing further restrictions to slow the spread.
“Of course, I am concerned,” she said. “The measures that we have put in place over the past several months may have somewhat slowed the growth, but they have not bent the curve as much as we need to.
“And we do need everyone to pull together to follow all of those measures to the letter, or unfortunately we will need to put in additional restrictions.”
Alberta has one of the highest infection rates in the country, but has among the fewest restrictions.
On Friday, Ontario restricted shopping, closed high schools, restaurants and bars, while other provinces mandated face masks.
‘Even if you don’t like them’
Hinshaw urged Albertans to follow mandatory and voluntary health measures.
“This weekend, I encourage everyone to abide by all public health measures even if you don’t like them, even if they’re inconvenient or even if you don’t agree with them. We must all do our part to bend the curve, prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed and prevent more restrictive measures from coming into effect.”
WATCH | Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says health measures need to strike right balance
There were 11 deaths new deaths attributed to the disease, bringing the total number of deaths to 462.
Hinshaw dismissed the idea that only the elderly are vulnerable, pointing out two individuals in their 30s were among the deaths announced this past week. She also made it clear that people with co-morbidities include a significant number of Albertans of all ages.
“Severe outcomes are not limited just to those already at the very end of their lives, and it is a mistake to think so,” Hinshaw said,
“Having a chronic medical condition is very common,” she said. “These conditions include things like high blood pressure and diabetes. In Alberta, almost one-quarter of all adults over the age of 20 have a chronic condition. That is almost 800,000 people.
“When looking just at men in Alberta, more than half of men over 50 and almost 70 per cent of men over 65 have high blood pressure. That should not be a death sentence.”
Currently, 310 people are being treated in hospital, of which 58 are in intensive care units.
Hinshaw said that there are 173 general adult ICU beds in the province. While 70 have been designated for COVID-19 patients, more beds can be shifted if the need arises, she said.
“Alberta Health Services manages ICU beds and staff depending on demand from both COVID-19 patients and patients with other conditions that require intensive care,” she said.
“These beds can be used for many patient types. I want to assure Albertans that as more COVID-19 patients require intensive care, AHS is able to add additional intensive care capacity.”
AHS has prepared more ICU beds in the Edmonton and Calgary zones to be ready if needed, Hinshaw said.
“This is where most of the capacity is likely to be required, but creating this capacity means stopping or delaying other services, and this is the impact we want to avoid.”
Hiding symptoms, risking health workers
Hinshaw said she has heard of people who have the disease covering up their symptoms while visiting hospitals to see loved ones.
“I understand that it is hard to not be able to see a loved one or accompany them to hospital, but we must all think beyond ourselves right now,” she said.
“If a provider or other member of a health care team gets sick, it means they are not available to treat patients for at least two weeks, which translates to a lack of staff to care for all patients.
“Ultimately if this behaviour continues, Alberta Health Service will have to consider limiting designated family and support and visitation even further. And that is not something we want AHS to have to do.”
The number of active cases now sits at 10,655, the highest number in Alberta since the pandemic began in March.
Here is how the active cases break down in the zones:
- Edmonton zone: 4,520 cases
- Calgary zone: 4,272 cases
- North zone: 651 cases
- South zone: 569 cases
- Central zone: 564 cases
- Unknown: 79 cases
The 11 deaths reported Friday include:
- A woman in her 90s from Edmonton, linked to the outbreak at Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
- A woman in her 80s, also linked to the outbreak at Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
- A man in his 80s, linked to the outbreak at Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
- A woman in her 60s from Edmonton, linked to an outbreak at Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
- A woman in her 90s from the Edmonton zone, linked to the outbreak at Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline.
- A man in his 90s, also linked to an outbreak at Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
- A man in his 70s from the North zone, linked to the outbreak at Grande Prairie Care Centre.
- A man in his 60s from the Edmonton zone.
- A man in his 60s from the South zone.
- A woman in her 70s from the Calgary zone.
- A man in his 80s from the Central zone.
COVID-19 update for Dec. 1: 656 new cases, 16 more deaths in B.C. | Premier Horgan's popularity remains high – Vancouver Sun
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Fraser Health says the machines can remove viruses and bacteria from a room in as little as 20 minutes.
10:30 a.m. – Tam says older Canadians should be at front of line for vaccine
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says when looking at people experiencing the most severe illness, older Canadians are more at risk than younger Canadians with pre-existing conditions.
She says that suggests after the initial round of vaccines goes to people in high-risk living or work situations, like long-term care centres and hospital staff, the next round of immunizations should be done by age, with the oldest Canadians at the front of the line.
— Canadian Press
8 a.m. – Premier Horgan’s popularity remains high
Despite surging COVID-19 cases in the province, Premier John Horgan continues to maintain a high level of approval among British Columbians.
In a recent Angus Reid poll, conducted Nov. 24-30, 64 per cent of respondents said they approved of Horgan’s performance during the pandemic while 30 per cent disapproved and six per cent were unsure.
Although his popularity among British Columbians has dropped five points since last quarter, Horgan’s approval rating is tied for the highest in country, with Quebec Premier Francois Legault, despite new wave of COVID-19 related physical-distancing and social restrictions in B.C.
Vancouver police issued just over $7,000 in fines at four different parties over the weekend that were held despite current COVID-19 health orders.
Under current B.C. health orders, social gatherings aren’t permitted with anyone outside of the household bubble. The orders were implemented to cut down on the transmission of COVID-19.
B.C. reported 46 deaths between noon Friday and noon Monday and 2,077 new cases of COVID-19.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also added another 277 cases to B.C.’s total caseload after an earlier accounting mistake was corrected in Fraser Health.
Henry said 36 of the deaths over the previous three days were in residents of long-term health care facilities.
Between noon Friday and noon Saturday there were 750 cases reported, 731 between noon Saturday and noon Sunday and 596 between noon Sunday and noon Monday.
12 a.m. – Another vaccine candidate submitted to Health Canada for approval
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Johnson & Johnson has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Health Canada’s approval.
It’s the fourth potential vaccine sent for assessment in Canada and the first that would require one dose to confer immunity instead of two.
Health Canada has been examining vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca since October, when those companies sent partial data on their drugs for what’s called a “rolling review.”
If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets Health Canada’s standards for safety and effectiveness, the Canadian government says it has a deal to buy 10 million doses and an option on up to 28 million more.
— Canadian Press
The Liberal government expects to post a $381-billion deficit in 2021, not including a new pool of stimulus funds announced on Monday that will put further strain on Ottawa’s finances as pandemic spending continues to climb.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the updated figures in her fiscal update, which showed the deficit rising still higher than Ottawa’s earlier projection of $343 billion in 2020-21.
The Liberals on Monday also promised another $70 billion to $100 billion over the next three years in stimulus measures, but declined to outline the details of the new spending, saying it was “highly dependent on the evolving health and economic situation” in Canada.
LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press
Conservatives push for parliamentary committee study of failed vaccine deal – CBC.ca
The federal Conservatives are calling for a parliamentary committee probe of the Liberal government’s plan to refit a National Research Council facility in Montreal to start producing a COVID-19 vaccine.
The government announced the $44 million project in May as part of a partnership between the NRC and a Chinese company to develop a made-in-Canada vaccine.
By August, the Liberals had confirmed the partnership with CanSino Biologics had fallen apart after the Chinese government blocked shipments of vaccine samples meant to be used in clinical trials in Canada.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has criticized the Liberals for putting too much faith in Beijing, and blamed the failed deal for Canada being late to order vaccines from other foreign companies.
The proposed committee probe would look at the investment intended to upgrade the NRC facility and how the deal affected Canada’s efforts to ensure the country has timely access to vaccines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted last week that Canada might have to wait for other countries to get access to vaccines, though the government and vaccine-makers have since downplayed any delay.
Toronto's top doctor says COVID-19 numbers sound 'blunt warning' as city logs record 761 new cases – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Toronto’s top doctor says the latest COVID-19 data collected for the city should send an urgent warning to residents to change their behaviour.
Toronto reported 761 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 643 set just a day earlier on Monday.
“Today’s case counts are a blunt warning,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said in a statement. “COVID-19 continues to spread easily and widely.”
De Villa pointed out that younger adults (people between the ages of 20 and 49) account for more than half (57 per cent) of today’s new cases, including 167 people in their 20s, 154 people in their 30s and 112 people in their 40s.
“It is a warning that everyone at every age shares the risk of infection, just as all of us have the ability to reduce the risk through the actions and choices we take in the next several weeks,” de Villa said.
She said data gleaned from the city’s newly launched Source of Infection Survey, given to those who test positive for the virus, are also shedding light on where people are getting infected.
One on five respondents confirmed that they had been part of a gathering of fewer than 10 people either in their own home or in someone else’s home during the period when they acquired COVID-19.
“While most cases reporting close contact with a known COVID-19 case identified their spouse or partner (21 per cent) as the case, the next most common relationships reported were friends (16 per cent) and co-workers (16 per cent),” de Villa said. “In total, 35 per cent of cases reporting close contact indicated that their close contact with known cases were only non-household contacts.”
She said the latest data underscores the importance of limiting contact with those outside of your household in order to contain the spread of the virus. She noted that some of the cases reported today would have acquired their infections prior to new lockdown restrictions placed on the city a week ago.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Toronto also climbed by 13 Tuesday to 258. One more patient with COVID-19 entered the Intensive Care Unit, for a total of 49.
While the province reported a slightly lower number of new cases (727) for Toronto Tuesday, the discrepancy arises from the fact that the city and the province use different data entry systems, each with their own cut off time for reporting cases.
China lands on moon in mission to collect samples from surface – Al Jazeera English
City makes investment in water and waste as part of $2.3B capital plan – Winnipeg Sun
COVID-19 update for Dec. 1: 656 new cases, 16 more deaths in B.C. | Premier Horgan's popularity remains high – Vancouver Sun
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