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More Albertans join queue for COVID-19 vaccines as case and variant numbers surge – CBC.ca

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With the province on track to have up to 1,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital by the end of April, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a return to Step 1 restrictions to try to slow the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Facing a growing third wave of the pandemic, the premier held a news conference Tuesday along with Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

“Today, I am here to announce new measures that will help to stop the spike of COVID-19 measures in our province,” Kenney said. “This is not an easy announcement to make or a step that we are in any way taking lightly.”

Last week, Kenney urged Albertans to follow the health measures already in place to stop the spread of the virus.

Yet cases have continued to rise sharply over the past week, Kenney said Tuesday, averaging almost 1,000 new cases a day over the long weekend. The surge in variants of concern has also accelerated.

Variant cases went from about 100 a day three weeks ago to 676 on Tuesday, he said, and variants now make up more than 40 per cent of total active cases.

“In the race between variants and the virus, the variants are winning,” the premier said.

More Albertans joined the queue for vaccinations Tuesday as provincial health officials grapple with surging cases of COVID-19 and highly contagious variants.

Albertans with eligible underlying health conditions who were born in or before 1973 became eligible to book appointments, either online through AHS or by calling Health Link, starting at 8 a.m.

Eligible people in the 2B group can also book appointments at participating pharmacies. A full list of participating pharmacies can be found on the Alberta Blue Cross website

As of Tuesday morning, Albertans born between 1957 and 1966 are eligible to book appointments for the AstraZeneca shot. 

Eligible Albertans in this phase can choose to wait to receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine when Phase 2D fully launches in May.

The online booking tool has been changed to allow up to four eligible family members to book at the same time at the same clinic, Alberta Health Services said in a statement Monday.

Bookings are being opened by birth year. The first eligible people in group 2B began booking appointments last week.

Additional years will be added as more doses arrive. If supplies hold up, the province aims to vaccinate every adult Albertan by the end of June. 

Albertans who became eligible on Tuesday include:

  • Those born in 1956 or before;
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit people born in 1971 or before, and;
  • Those born between 1957 and 1973 with high-risk underlying health conditions.
  • Phase 2D (AstraZeneca): Born 1957-1966

As of Monday, 707,482 vaccine doses had been administered, and 116,198 Albertans had been fully vaccinated with two doses. 

On Monday, Alberta reported 887 new cases of COVID-19 and 432 new variant cases, which now account for nearly 40 per cent of active infections in the province.

There were 312 people in hospital, including 76 in intensive care.

Premier Jason Kenney said last week the province was not considering further public health restrictions to curb the spread.

But cabinet’s emergency management committee was scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning.

Variant outbreaks

On Monday, Hinshaw provided new details on efforts to contain two outbreaks of the  P1 variant, with cases confirmed in at least four worksites.

The first outbreak involves the north and central health zones and “a large employer with multiple sites across Western Canada,” Hinshaw wrote on Twitter Monday. 

She gave no further details about the employer involved, citing an ongoing public health investigation and patient confidentiality. 

“These investigations are complex and it’s important that we ensure information is accurate and that anyone at risk is directly contacted before sharing details,” Hinshaw wrote. “We also must balance the public desire for info with protecting patient confidentiality.”

Health officials think the outbreak started with a traveller returning to Alberta from out of province.

A total of 26 cases involved workers from the three sites and their household contacts. Three of those infections are confirmed to be the Brazilian variant known as P1, though Hinshaw said that number was likely to increase as more lab results come in.

There is also an outbreak at a separate workplace in the Calgary zone. As of Monday, five people had been infected and one case had been confirmed as the P1 variant, Hinshaw said.

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330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW

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B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.

There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.

The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.

87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.

The new/active cases include:

* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932

* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909

* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181

* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977

* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654

* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44

There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.

From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417

* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)

* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437

* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)

* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)

* Not vaccinated: 289.0

* Partially vaccinated: 87.9

* Fully vaccinated: 27.0

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)

* Not vaccinated: 46.5

* Partially vaccinated: 13.3

* Fully vaccinated: 1.8

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

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U.S. CDC advisers recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for 65 and older, high risk – CBC.ca

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An advisory panel at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and for some adults with underlying medical conditions.

The vote by the group on Thursday clears the way for a booster roll-out to begin as soon as this week for millions of people who had their second dose at least six months ago.

It also follows Wednesday’s emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for seniors 65 and up and for certain adults at a high risk of severe COVID-19.

More to come

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Man assaulted nurse over vaccinating his wife: Quebec cops – Toronto Sun

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The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face, police said.

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Sherbrooke police have turned to the public to help track down a man who assaulted a nurse Monday at a local pharmacy.

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Police say a man showed up at the office of a nurse assigned to give vaccinations at a pharmacy on 12th Ave. N.

“He was angry and aggressive,” said police spokesperson Martin Carrier.

The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face and leaving, police said, adding that the nurse was taken to hospital to treat “serious” injuries to her face.

The man being sought is 30 to 45 years old, of medium build and has a dark complexion. He has short dark hair, dark eyes and “big eyebrows.”

The man spoke French and was wearing a dark sweater and jeans. He wore earrings and had a hand tattooed with what resembled the image of a cross.

Police are urging anyone with any information on the case to call them at 1-800-771-1800.

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