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E. coli cases hit 190 as four Calgary daycares prepare to reopen



AHS said each of the 11 affected locations will be able to open this week, starting Monday with four facilities that had no cases identified

Four Calgary daycares shuttered amid a large-scale E. coli outbreak that infected dozens of children are scheduled to reopen on Monday, with health officials noting the facilities didn’t see a single case of the bacterial infection.

As of Sunday, AHS has linked 190 cases to the outbreak, which prompted the closure of 11 local child-care facilities. Twenty-seven people are in hospital, and 20 have been confirmed to have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe disease that affects the kidneys and blood clotting systems.

Seven patients have been discharged from hospital.

AHS said each of the 11 affected locations will be able to open this week, starting Monday with four facilities that had no cases identified.

Fueling Brains Bridgeland, Little Oak Early Education, Almond Branch, and Braineer Academy will resume operations Monday morning “as long as no one from the site tests positive for (E. coli) before this time,” AHS said.

“Public health inspectors have assessed the readiness of these four facilities to reopen and ensured that they have taken appropriate measures such as cleaning and disinfection,” said the health authority.

Closure orders for the seven locations where cases were identified — Vik Academy in Okotoks, Kidz Space and Fueling Brains campuses Braeside, West 85th, New Brighton, Centennial and McKnight — will be lifted Tuesday. But health officials say children and staff attending those locations, even if they’ve had no gastrointestinal symptoms, must test negative for E. coli and be cleared by health officials before returning.

AHS said the outbreak is very likely rooted in the kitchen shared between the 11 locations.

“Based on the epidemiology of the cases we’ve seen to date, it is highly likely the source of this outbreak is food that was distributed from the central kitchen,” said AHS in a Sunday statement. “At this point, AHS has not been able to identify a food item that was the source.”

The kitchen remains closed as AHS continues to investigate.

A statement of claim for a potential class action lawsuit was filed Friday, naming the daycares and their shared kitchen. The claim alleges “negligent, unsanitary and unsafe food storage, preparation and handling practices” led to the infections.

Government officials speak on outbreak

Premier Danielle Smith and other government officials publicly addressed the situation Sunday for the first time since the outbreak was declared on Sept. 4. In separate posts on X, she and Health Minister Adriana LaGrange offered “thoughts and prayers” to the young patients and others dealing with the infection.

“My heart also goes out to the families of these little ones. Thank you to all the frontline workers who’ve been working tirelessly to treat and care for these children,” said Smith. “I’ve asked the Minister of Health, Adrianna LaGrange and the Minister of Children and Family Services, Searle Turton to do a full assessment of this outbreak to ensure steps are taken to prevent this from happening in the future.”

For further information, affected families can go to

A location of Fueling Brains Academy is shown on McPherson Rd. N.E. in Calgary on Sunday, September 10, 2023.
A location of Fueling Brains Academy is shown on McPherson Rd. N.E. in Calgary on Sunday, September 10, 2023. This is one of many child-care businesses closed recently due to illness. This location may be able to open early in the next week. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

— With files from Bill Kaufmann



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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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