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COVID-19: Alberta looks to community physicians to boost 1st dose vaccine uptake – Global News



The health minister said Friday that Alberta physicians in regions where there is low COVID-19 vaccine uptake are being asked to help boost immunization coverage.

“Last Thursday, we issued a med bulletin, as it’s called, a notice that goes out to physicians through the ministry that provided a new code for physicians who are in a community that has a low vaccine uptake, for them to be able to go through their patient roster, reconcile with patient records, and if somebody hasn’t been vaccinated, be able to reach out to that patient, be able to explain the safety and efficacy, to encourage an opportunity this summer for those folks to get their vaccines,” Tyler Shandro said Friday.

Read more:
Geographical differences in vaccination coverage prompt call from Alberta doctors to boost uptake

The bulletin was sent on July 2 and said the billing code can be applied retroactively for any call by a doctor to a patient in select areas that addressed concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“(It) may be claimed retroactively by all physicians who have called their patients via telephone or videoconference to address concerns related to COVID-19 vaccine by providing education or counselling between May 01, 2021 and June 21, 2021,” the memo, shared by the Alberta Medical Association, stated.

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The lower-uptake areas included are: Beaverlodge, Bonnyville, Calgary East, Calgary Lower NE, Calgary Upper NE, Cardston-Kainai, County of Forty Mile, Drayton Valley, Fairview, Frog Lake, High Level, High Prairie, Manning, Red Deer County, Rocky Mountain House, Spirit River, St. Paul, Taber MD, Two Hills County, Valleyview, Vermilion River County, Wabasca and Wood Buffalo.

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As of July 7, 73.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 52 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated with two doses.

However, coverage rates vary across the province.

In northern Alberta, for instance, just 15.2 per cent of people 12 and older in the High Level area have received at least one dose. In southern Alberta, in the County of Forty Mile, first dose coverage of eligible Albertans is 29.5 per cent.

Immunization map c/o Alberta Health.

Immunization map c/o Alberta Health

“We continue to push first doses,” Shandro said. “I think we’re darn near close to 75 per cent first dose coverage on a province-wide level. Calgary though — in our major urbans, we are much higher than that.”

Shandro said the province continues to work with Alberta Health Services, community pharmacies and community doctors on increasing vaccine uptake. He said the community outreach teams are also educating Albertans about hotel quarantine support, vaccine safety and efficacy, especially in areas where there tend to be multiple generations in one household.

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The Alberta Medical Association said it’s been very gratifying to see strong uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines in the province.

“Through 186 clinics, family physicians have been proud to provide more than 25,000 immunizations as of mid-June. Many more have been administered since then,” AMA president Dr. Paul Boucher said in a statement to Global News.

“We need to do more still, though, to get past the pandemic and the way to do that is by vaccinating as many Albertans as we can.

“Immunization is the single most effective means, personally and for those around us, to protect against COVID-19.

“Family physicians are a trusted source of information on the vaccine. Because they also know your history, family and circumstances, they can make recommendations that are right for you,” Boucher said.

He added that family physicians are always happy to talk with patients about any concerns they have.

“It’s important that you feel comfortable with getting your COVID-19 vaccine, but it is the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

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Another approach is offering vaccines at a pancake breakfast at the Calgary Stampede.

“We have a partnership with the Calgary Stampede,” said Harry Yee, the chief operating officer of the Centre for Newcomers.

“We’re having a breakfast to encourage people to come out and have a pancake, but also get their vaccine shot.

“We’re only here for an hour, but by taking over this hour, we’re getting a good turnout,” Yee said. “Hopefully, we could get a lot of people vaccinated.”

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He hopes other organizations follow suit and offer vaccine in way that’s accessible.

“I don’t know if it’s resistance; I think it’s just the barriers, at least for newcomers, to get their vaccine.

“Language barriers, but also barriers to get out, finding the location of where to get your vaccine shot.”

Read more:
Doctor says Alberta needs to get creative, bring vaccine to people to boost 1st dose uptake

Shandro said while demand for first doses is slowing, people are still eager to get their second dose. He expects Alberta will reach 60 per cent second dose coverage “in the coming days.”

“One of the milestones in particular that Dr. Hinshaw has flagged for me is getting to 65 per cent second dose coverage.

“We’ve also seen some of what’s been announced by PHAC federally — the Public Health Agency of Canada — what they’re looking for before the federal government eases border restrictions.

“For us, the advice we’re getting from Dr. Hinshaw and her office is that they’re setting second dose coverage at 65 per cent,” Shandro said.

“I don’t see any concerns with getting to 65 per cent.”

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Blizzard's President Brack Steps Down – Dark Horizons



Blizzards President Brack Steps Down

J. Allen Brack, president of “Warcraft” and “Overwatch” creator Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company “to pursue new opportunities”.

Brack’s exit comes less than two weeks after Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing over the company’s alleged “pervasive frat boy workplace culture.”

In recent days, multiple horrific stories have emerged in the press of explosive allegations by employees who claimed to have been continuously subjected to sexual harassment, psychological harassment and discrimination within the company. A large crowd of more than a thousand employees rallied outside the company’s campus this past week, the incident making headline news around the world.

Brack was named in the lawsuit as being among the company executives who were allegedly aware of the systemic misconduct.

EVP of development Jen Oneal and EVP of platform and technology Mike Ybarra have now been appointed co-leaders of Blizzard. Oneal joined Blizzard in January, Ybarra came onboard from XBOX in 2019. Both have more than three decades of gaming industry experience between them.

A short statement released by the company’s COO Daniel Alegre says: “Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust.”

Source: Kotaku

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Ontario reports single new COVID-19 case in Ottawa Tuesday – CTV Edmonton



Public Health Ontario is reporting a single new case of COVID-19 in Ottawa Tuesday.

A full, local snapshot from Ottawa Public Health is due this afternoon. Daily case counts from OPH often differ from those provided by Public Health Ontario because the two health agencies pull data for their respective daily snapshot reports at different times of the day.

Across the province, Public Health Ontario added 164 new infections on Tuesday and said one more Ontarian had died due to COVID-19. Another 151 cases are now considered resolved.

There was no formal update on the holiday Monday, but the province released the figures Tuesday, reporting an additional 168 new cases and another new death.

Across eastern Ontario, provincial health officials added five additional cases in the last two days.


Ottawa Public Health updates vaccine numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As of Monday:

  • Ottawa residents with 1 dose (12+): 767,352 
  • Ottawa residents with 2 doses (12+): 661,965 
  • Share of population 12 and older with at least one dose: 83 per cent
  • Share of population 12 and older fully vaccinated: 72 per cent
  • Total doses received in Ottawa*: 1,333,790

**Total doses received does not include doses shipped to pharmacies and primary care clinics, but statistics on Ottawa residents with one or two doses includes anyone with an Ottawa postal code who was vaccinated anywhere in Ontario. 


  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit: One new case Monday, zero new cases Tuesday
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health: Zero new cases Monday, two new cases Tuesday
  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health: One new case Monday, zero new cases Tuesday
  • Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit: Zero new cases Monday, one new case Tuesday
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit: Zero new cases Monday and Tuesday

This story will be updated. CTV News Ottawa will have the latest as it becomes available.

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COVID-19: Ottawa reports seven new cases, fatal cases decline sharply in July – Ottawa Citizen



Vaccinations have slowed considerably in the capital since the peak week in early July when nearly 133,000 doses were administered.

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Ottawa is reporting seven new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday as severe cases, hospitalizations and fatal outcomes continue to sharply decline in Ottawa while vaccination rates gradually climb.


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No deaths have been reported since early July, and there were two COVID-related deaths in the city during the month, while there were 14 deaths in June and 56 deaths in May. There have been 593 COVID-related deaths in the city since the beginning of the pandemic and 27,827 total cases.

There are currently no patients in local hospitals or in intensive care wards. Of Ottawa’s total cases, 27,184 people have now recovered.

There have been 49 cases in the last seven days at a rate of 4.6 cases per 100,000 population. That key indicator has remained relatively flat this week.

The virus reproduction rate, which measures the number of secondary cases generated by each COVID-19 case in the community, has a weekly R(t) value of 1.15. Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, while any value below that threshold indicates it is receding.


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The R(t) value was below that threshold during May and June, but has remained above 1.0 since mid-July. There has also been a slight rise in the viral signal in Ottawa’s wastewater over the last seven days, which typically signals a corresponding rise in daily case counts.

Ottawa’s test positivity average is 0.5 per cent for the past week.

Vaccinations have slowed considerably in the capital since the peak week in early July when nearly 133,000 doses were administered. There were 33,212 doses administered in Ottawa last week and 104,906 the week before.

Vaccinations so far in August have followed a similarly slowing pace with 4,277 doses administered on Sunday.

The city continues to outpace the provincial vaccination rate with 1,450,733 doses administered, with 799,882 first doses and 650,851 second doses administered. That represents 83 per cent of the eligible population (12-plus) with one dose and 72 per cent of eligible residents with both doses.


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Public Health Ontario did not release provincial data on the Civic Holiday Monday, and said the compiled data will be available during the regular morning update Tuesday.

There were 154 new cases in Quebec reported in the past 24 hours and no deaths in the province.

There are 61 patients in Quebec hospitals, one more admission since Friday, with 17 patients in ICU.

Another 38,883 vaccine doses were administered in the past 24 hours, and according to Monday’s provincial update, a total of 11,330,968 vaccine doses have been administered in Quebec, representing 74 per cent of the population.

Ontario reported 218 new cases on Sunday and two deaths, and as of the last update, the province had reported 550,654 total cases and 9,347 deaths. There were 78 patients in hospital and another 110 in ICU, with 78 requiring a ventilator.


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(Reported Monday)

7: New cases

27,827: Total cases

0: New deaths

593: Total deaths

50: Active cases

0: In hospital

0: In ICU

4.6: Rolling seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people

0.5: Per cent test positivity, previous seven days

1.15: Estimated R(t), seven-day average. A number greater than one indicates the virus is spreading.


(Reported Sunday. Due to Civic holiday, Monday’s data will be included in Tuesday’s update.)

218: New confirmed cases

550,654: Total cases

2: New deaths

9,347: Total deaths

78: Currently in hospital

*110: In intensive care

*78: On a ventilator

(*Note: Ontario Public Health statistics of ICU hospitalizations and ventilator cases contain some patients who no longer test positive for COVID-19, but who are being treated for conditions caused by the virus.)

60,583: Daily doses administered

19,519,781: Total doses administered

14,122: Tests conducted in previous 24 hours

1.4: Per cent positivity in cases

1.0: Estimated reproductive number, R(t). A number lower than one indicates the virus is receding.

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