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Alberta will be first province to launch serology testing – CTV News Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Alberta is the first Canadian province to launch serology testing, which will help scientists understand how many people have been infected by COVID-19.

“That’s why I’m pleased to announce today that our government is investing $10 million into targeted serology testing to help track the spread of COVID-19,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

The study will start in July with a select group of children and then adults, testing for antibodies to show if they have previously been infected by the novel coronavirus.

“As we’ve learned, many people that get infected either have no symptoms, or they have such mild symptoms they don’t bother to get tested,” said Dr. Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist.

“There is estimates that as many as ten times as many people may have been infected as the ones that have been truly been diagnosed,” she said.

Over 600 children already enrolled in previously studies will be tested every six months for the next two years. Researchers said it will help determine if having the virus can prevent reinfection.

“We don’t want people thinking that because they have antibodies they can go out and do whatever they want.”

Test results from July will start coming in by October. Robinson said the information will be helpful for parents who might be sending their children back to school in the fall.

“It will be very intersecting to see by December how many of these kids have already been infected with or without symptoms.”

The ultimate goal of serology testing is helping public health officials plan for future healthcare needs.

“It’s unrealistic to think we are suddenly going to have 7.5 billion doses of vaccine to immunize every single person on the planet, so at some point we might have to come up with priorities.” 

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Dave Mitchell

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Canada’s economy creates almost 1 million jobs in June – Canada Immigration News

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Canada immigration levels May 2020 Express EntryLifting coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions around the country has sparked the beginning of Canada’s economic recovery.

Many Canadians and permanent residents returned to work for their previous employers while others started new jobs.

Between February and April, a total of 3 million people lost their jobs due to the lockdown, and another 2.5 million were absent from work due to coronavirus-related reasons, according to a Statistics Canada report published on Friday.

May saw a slow start of economic recovery as 290,000 people returned to work. Building on this, the month of June helped alleviate low unemployment rates across the country as employment increased by a record 953,000 people.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

These last two months saw the labour market recover by a staggering 40%. Over 1.24 million people gained employment, after 3 million people lost their jobs earlier in the year.

Canada’s overall unemployment rate dropped from 13.7% in May to 12.3% in June.

In addition, the report says that labour force participation rate has increased substantially over the last two months up to 63.8% in June. In comparison, it was 65.5% in February, before coronavirus-related restrictions.

The labour force participation rate is the percentage of the population, aged 15 or older, who are part of the labour force.

This suggests that many people are now more optimistic about the potential of finding a job. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)’s requirement to actively search for work may be another factor. The CESB was introduced to alleviate financial struggles of students who may have been affected by the coronavirus-related restrictions

Moreover, the number of people who work less than half of their usual hours also decreased in June to 26.9% down from 34.3%.

The rise of employment across all provinces is largely aligned with the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Employment in Ontario increased by 378,000 (or 5.9%), Quebec by 248,000 (or 6.5%) and British Columbia by 118,000 (or 5.4%).

As Canada begins reopening its economy, many Canadians and permanent residents have returned to work or have begun looking for work.

In addition, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has returned to normal in terms of Express Entry draws. The latest draw held was an all-program draw. This means that candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) were also considered.

Since the travel restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, IRCC had been holding program-specific draws, alternating between Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws.

Canada’s latest job statistics is good news for these immigrants since they can expect a stronger job market once they have obtained permanent residence.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

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COVID-19: Alberta reports 77 new cases on Friday, death count falls by 1 – CTV News

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Alberta reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total number of cases to 8,596.

There are 592 active cases across the province and 7,844 people have recovered from the coronavirus. 

The province’s death count fell by one on Friday, from 161 to 160. The number of COVID-19-related deaths fell from 18 to 17.

“One of the deaths reported at the Misericordia has been determined to not have COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death,” a spokesman for the province told CTV News.

The city of Edmonton has now surpassed 1,000 total cases, with 1,001. Its number of active cases sits at 173.

More than 510,000 COVID-19 tests have now been completed in Alberta. 

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Edmonton, Calgary top Canadian cities in unemployment – CTV News Edmonton

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Alberta has the second-worst provincial unemployment rate in Canada after Newfoundland and Labrador..

According to new Statistics Canada data, unemployment reached 15.5 per cent in June.

It marks an 8.8 per cent difference from the same time last year.

The only province with a higher unemployment rate is Newfoundland and Labrador, at 16.5 per cent.

And unemployment in Alberta’s largest cities is also highest among Canadian major urban centres: about 15.7 per cent of the Edmonton workforce is currently unemployed, and 15.6 per cent of the Calgary workforce.

In May, their unemployment rates were 13.6 per cent and 13.4 per cent, respectively.

The news comes alongside a report that Canada added 953,000 jobs in June as businesses forced to close by the pandemic began to reopen.

“That’s important progress but we have a long way to go,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney commented Friday at a news conference in Fort Saskatchewan, where a carbon capture and storage facility recently reached the five-million equivalent tonnes milestone.

Kenney’s government’s economic recovery plan centres on infrastructure projects that create jobs and making Alberta an attractive place for investment – as does the facility at the Shell Scotford complex, Kenney said.

“Projects like this are a key part of Alberta’s recovery plan to build, to diversify, and to create jobs. When the global economy comes back form COVID, when demand returns for oil and gas, we are going to see, I believe, something of a supply shortage because of all the upstream exploration that has been cancelled, and so we’ll see prices go up. And that will be a great opportunity for Alberta, especially as we make progress on pipelines,” he said.

“But there’s one critical factor, we’ve got to bring investment back. And that means we’ve got to demonstrate our progress on environmental responsibility which is why investments like this… are so important to jobs, the economy, and the future prosperity of Alberta.”

The national unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent after hitting a record-high of 13.7 per cent in May.

With files from CTVNews.ca

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