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COVID-19 in B.C.: Less than 5 per cent of cases are among fully vaccinated people, officials say – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
Just a small fraction of B.C.’s recent COVID-19 cases are among people who are fully vaccinated, health officials announced Tuesday.

During a morning news conference Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed that less than five per cent of COVID-19 cases are people who have received two vaccine doses. B.C.’s top doctor spoke alongside Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Penny Ballem.

“Ninety-six per cent are people who have received just one dose (or less) or, 78 per cent, are among people who have not been vaccinated at all,” Henry said, adding that data shows that people who have received two doses are “significantly less likely to be hospitalized or to have severe illness.”

“This compares to the high rate of COVID among unvaccinated but eligible people here in B.C.”

Data presented by Henry showed among 176 total people hospitalized because of COVID-19, about 137 people were completely unvaccinated. The median age of those hospitalized was 52, she said.

“This is why it is extremely important that we all get both doses of vaccine,” Henry said.

Ballem said according to data collected on July 23, 19.6 per cent of eligible British Columbians remain unvaccinated. Northern and Interior Health authorities have the highest rates of unvaccinated residents, with 32.5 and 26.2 per cent, respectively.

In presenting the data, officials said vaccine distribution must be convenient for residents and announced doses will soon be available at walk-in clinics.

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Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required at Prince Edward County rec facilities and town halls – Quinte News

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The municipality of Prince Edward County is making some rule changes to comply with Ontario’s vaccine passport program.

Tuesday afternoon the municipality sent out a press release stating that anyone over 12 years of age looking to enter municipal recreation facilities or town halls will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

This applies to meeting spaces and municipal offices as well.

Anyone looking to enter any of these facilities will need to show a paper or electronic proof of vaccination along with government-issued identification.

However, anyone accessing front counter services at Shire Hall, the Edward Building and the Picton Fire station will not need to provide proof of vaccination as active screening and contact tracing will continue at those locations.

Proof of vaccination is also not required to be shown by workers and volunteers, including coaches and officials, at recreation facilities.

See the full press release from Prince Edward County below:

New provincial regulations will require people 12 years of age or older to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access the municipality’s meeting spaces, town halls, and recreation facilities beginning September 22, 2021.

People will be required to show:

  • An electronic or paper copy of their COVID-19 vaccination receipt indicating they are fully vaccinated
  • Matching government-issued identification with name and date of birth, such as a driver’s licence, birth certificate, citizenship card, Indian status card/Indigenous membership card, passport, permanent resident card or health card.

Children under 12 years of age are exempt under the provincial regulations.

Learn more about how the regulations apply for different buildings and spaces:

Municipal offices, meeting spaces, and town halls

People attending a meeting or event in a municipal building or town hall will be required to show proof of their vaccination status.

However, people accessing front counter services at Shire Hall, the Edward Building, and the Picton fire station do not have to provide proof of vaccination status. Active COVID-19 screening and contact tracing will continue at those locations.

Recreation facilities

Proof of vaccination status is required for recreation facility patrons 18 years and older, including parents or guardians of youth actively participating in an organized sport. Proof of identification and proof of being fully vaccinated is not required for workers or volunteers, including coaches and officials.

Patrons under 18 years of age who are entering the indoor premises of a facility used for sports and recreational fitness activities solely for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport do not have to show proof of vaccination. This applies to training, practices, games and competitions. The exemption does not apply to youth who are spectators at sporting events; furthermore, it does not apply to youth who are using a gym or other area with exercise equipment or weights unless actively participating in an organized sport.

Businesses and other spaces

Under the provincial regulations, certain businesses, including restaurants and bars, meeting and event spaces, and facilities used for sports and fitness activities, such as gyms, will be required to check for proof of vaccination.

Visit the Province of Ontario website to learn more about the details of the provincial requirements for various settings.

More information

County Council will receive a report at its Sept. 28 meeting with a proposed policy and procedure regarding vaccine requirements for municipal staff. The report will be posted as part of the Council agenda package later this week.

For more information, contact the County of Prince Edward at 613.476.2148 extension 1023, 613.962.9108 extension 1023, or info@pecounty.on.ca.

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Rural schools close as Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine passport system begins – Powell River Peak

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EDMONTON — Two schools in rural Alberta closed their classrooms Monday over the number of students not attending because of COVID-19 infections as Edmonton police introduced tough new vaccine requirements on the first day of the province’s new proof-of-vaccination program.

The Big Valley and Donalda schools, both in central Alberta’s Clearview Public School Division, announced that too many students are away from school to continue in-person classes.

“The percentage of students away continues to be over 10 per cent with reported cases of COVID-19,” the division said in a release.

The two schools are closed to in-person learning for students in Grades 1 through 9 until Oct. 1. Kindergarten and playschool classes will continue.

“Instruction and learning opportunities will be offered using a combination of online and paper-based materials,” the release said. “Classroom teachers will provide a detailed schedule so that students will have direct access to them at specified times during the day.”

Alberta Education spokeswoman Nicole Sparrow said the province received the request from the school division, which must be approved before a school can actually close.

“Approval from the Minister of Education is required for a short-term shift of one or more schools or an entire school authority to at-home/online learning,” she wrote in an email. 

“A decision for a school authority request will be based on the ability of a school to have staff available to operate in-school classes.” 

The Edmonton Police Service said it will give its members three choices on immunization: vaccinate, pay for their own rapid COVID-19 tests or stay home without pay until the situation changes or one of the first two conditions is met. 

“(Police) volunteers and contractors will also be required to either indicate they have been fully vaccinated or submit to rapid testing to engage in their duties,” the service said in a release. 

Police spokeswoman Chery Sheppard said more than 86 per cent of the service’s sworn and civilian employees have been fully vaccinated.  

Alberta averaged about 1,500 new cases daily over the weekend, recording 4,633 cases between Friday and Sunday. The province had 954 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 216 of them in intensive care.

The province recorded 22 deaths over the three days.

Earlier Monday, the government released more details about which businesses and institutions come under its restriction exemption plan, allowing eligible public organizations to function more normally. 

Retail stores, libraries, hotels and post-secondary institutions will not be required to take part in the program, nor will worshippers at a church, employees on a work site or students on a school trip.

Some restrictions will still apply. 

Stores must limit shoppers to one-third of normal capacity, for example, and people in indoor public spaces must still be masked. 

Entertainment facilities from restaurants to nightclubs to art galleries are all eligible to participate in the program, allowing them to operate with fewer restrictions as long as they require patrons to show proof of vaccination. 

Premier Jason Kenney announced the program last week. Retail stores and libraries were initially on the list of eligible organizations but were removed on the weekend.

Kenney had previously opposed a vaccine passport over what he said were privacy concerns. He switched to support for passports as Alberta’s hospitals faced the prospect of being overwhelmed in the pandemic’s fourth wave.

Starting Sunday, immunized Albertans could download proof-of-vaccination cards, but some pointed out they could be easily altered. 

A health ministry spokeswoman said work continues on a more secure QR code that would be available in the coming weeks. Starting Tuesday, Albertans will be able to request a free, printed version of their vaccination records from a registry agent.

Over the weekend, the province’s four largest health-care unions asked Kenney to request help from the military, the Red Cross and any other available medical resources able to assist hospitals caring for an increasing number of patients.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2021.

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

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Saskatchewan’s digital proof of vaccination launches ahead of October requirement – Red Deer Advocate

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REGINA — Saskatchewan residents were able on Monday to start downloading a digital QR code from their eHealth account showing proof of vaccination.

The government said in a news release that the code — which can be downloaded or printed — replaces the COVID-19 vaccination record that was made available in August but did not include a digital format.

The province announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required at non-essential businesses — including restaurants, casinos, movie theatres and indoor sports venues — beginning Oct. 1.

It won’t be required for civil services, retail or grocery stores, places of worship, hotels or at non-ticketed amateur sporting events.

Businesses can verify the QR codes on mobile devices using a special app.

The news release said travellers at international borders will also be able to use the code.

“This is the next, improved, version of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 vaccination record,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said in the release.

“It has been something that travellers, businesses and organizations have been asking for.”

The announcement followed a record-breaking 543 daily cases in Saskatchewan on Sunday.

On Monday, the province reported 519 infections and two deaths. The active number of cases stood at 4,672. Some 253 people were being treated in hospital.

Saskatchewan remains in the first phase of its triage plan, which means choices are being made about which surgeries need to be cancelled to free up space.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2021.

COVID-19Saskatchewan

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