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Unknown how rapidly new COVID-19 variant might spread in B.C.: epidemiologist – BC News – Castanet.net

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Daniel Coombs, an epidemiologist the ­University of British Columbia, said he’s surprised to see the presence of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, which has had relatively limited spread of the virus.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been mutating throughout the months of the pandemic but this new variant, called B.1.1.7, has been mutating quicker than expected. It has multiple spike protein mutations that have made it 70 per cent more transmissible than previous variants, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Coombs said it remains to be seen how the new variant will affect B.C.’s R rate, which is the number of people to whom one infected person will pass on the virus.

The U.K. government said last week the new variant could increase the virus reproduction R rate by 0.4, from 1.1 to 1.5. B.C.’s R rate is currently 0.9.

Coombs said the R rate is determined by how contagious the disease is and the behaviour of people, so public health measures like social distancing and a ban on social gatherings can keep transmission down.

B.1.1.7 was spreading for months in the U.K. undetected, Coombs said. Canada, he said, has the benefit of more knowledge and research to influence individual behaviour and government policies.

He also pointed out that B.C.’s daily COVID-19 case numbers have been trending downward, which has not been the case in the U.K.

“It does remain to be seen if it will spread more rapidly in Canada or in B.C.” Coombs said.

The variant has caused record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom, and Canada has put in place a ban on all flights arriving from the U.K.

However, the variant has spread to other European countries, as well as Australia and Japan, and without a wider ban on international flights, it will likely continue to spread in Canada, Coombs said.

If the U.K. strain does prove to be highly transmissible in Canada, it will mean the process of vaccinating enough people to stop the spread of COVID-19 will take longer, Coombs said. That could mean the country will need at least 70 per cent of the population to receive the virus to create herd immunity, he said.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health has not announced new COVID-19 restrictions in light of the presence of the new variant.

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2 people in their 20s in Calgary zone among Alberta’s COVID-19 fatalities Saturday – Global News

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Two people in their 20s with no known pre-existing conditions were added to Alberta’s COVID-19 fatality list on Saturday.

Alberta recorded a total of 13 additional deaths Saturday, including a woman and a man in their 20s, both in Calgary zone. Neither had known co-morbidities, Alberta Health said.

Officials said the man died on Jan. 16, while the woman’s death was recorded Jan. 18.

Read more:
Coronavirus: London-Middlesex reports death of teen – youngest in the region

The province also added 573 new cases of the disease. The active case numbers in the province now sit at 9,727, with 820 new recoveries outweighing the new cases and deaths.

The positive cases come from 10,894 new tests, giving a provincial positivity rate of just over five per cent.

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Hospitalizations are also down, with 676 people currently in hospital, 114 of whom are in intensive care.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on social media Saturday that even as numbers drop, the province needs to continue to follow health orders to keep them trending downwards.

According to the provincial numbers, 1,022 Albertans received vaccine doses on Jan. 22.

Read more:
What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

Alberta has been affected by shortages of COVID-19 vaccine supply that have led to a pausing of first doses and delays for some second doses in the province, although Hinshaw said this week that she believes there is enough vaccine to distribute second doses.

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“At the moment, we don’t anticipate needing to push our second dose appointments past the 42 days,” she said Tuesday.


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What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist


What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

Of the 13 deaths reported Saturday, only five were connected to outbreaks at long-term care homes.

The rest were people who were not in care.

In the Edmonton zone, three men in their 80s with pre-existing conditions who were connected to the outbreak at Youville Home, the outbreak at Terra Losa Lifestyle Options, and the outbreak at Rivercrest Care Centre died.

A woman in her 60s in Edmonton zone with comorbidities died.

In the Calgary zone, along with the two fatalities of people in their 20s, a man in his 70s with pre-existing conditions who was linked to the outbreak at Academy of Aging also died.

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The North zone saw four fatalities recorded, A man in his 60s with pre-existing conditions died in the William J.Cadzoe – Lac La Biche Healthcare Centre outbreak.

Also in North zone, a man and woman in their 70s and a woman in her 80s, all with comorbidities but none connected to outbreaks, died.

Two men in their 50s died in Central zone. Neither had any known pre-existing conditions.

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

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2 people in their 20s in Calgary zone among Alberta’s COVID-19 fatalities Saturday – Global News

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Two people in their 20s with no known pre-existing conditions were added to Alberta’s COVID-19 fatality list on Saturday.

Alberta recorded a total of 13 additional deaths Saturday, including a woman and a man in their 20s, both in Calgary zone. Neither had known co-morbidities, Alberta Health said.

Officials said the man died on Jan. 16, while the woman’s death was recorded Jan. 18.

Read more:
Coronavirus: London-Middlesex reports death of teen – youngest in the region

The province also added 573 new cases of the disease. The active case numbers in the province now sit at 9,727, with 820 new recoveries outweighing the new cases and deaths.

The positive cases come from 10,894 new tests, giving a provincial positivity rate of just over five per cent.

Story continues below advertisement

Hospitalizations are also down, with 676 people currently in hospital, 114 of whom are in intensive care.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on social media Saturday that even as numbers drop, the province needs to continue to follow health orders to keep them trending downwards.

According to the provincial numbers, 1,022 Albertans received vaccine doses on Jan. 22.

Read more:
What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

Alberta has been affected by shortages of COVID-19 vaccine supply that have led to a pausing of first doses and delays for some second doses in the province, although Hinshaw said this week that she believes there is enough vaccine to distribute second doses.

Story continues below advertisement

“At the moment, we don’t anticipate needing to push our second dose appointments past the 42 days,” she said Tuesday.


Click to play video 'What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist'



3:06
What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist


What to know about 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Alberta as shortages persist

Of the 13 deaths reported Saturday, only five were connected to outbreaks at long-term care homes.

The rest were people who were not in care.

In the Edmonton zone, three men in their 80s with pre-existing conditions who were connected to the outbreak at Youville Home, the outbreak at Terra Losa Lifestyle Options, and the outbreak at Rivercrest Care Centre died.

A woman in her 60s in Edmonton zone with comorbidities died.

In the Calgary zone, along with the two fatalities of people in their 20s, a man in his 70s with pre-existing conditions who was linked to the outbreak at Academy of Aging also died.

Story continues below advertisement

The North zone saw four fatalities recorded, A man in his 60s with pre-existing conditions died in the William J.Cadzoe – Lac La Biche Healthcare Centre outbreak.

Also in North zone, a man and woman in their 70s and a woman in her 80s, all with comorbidities but none connected to outbreaks, died.

Two men in their 50s died in Central zone. Neither had any known pre-existing conditions.

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

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2 Albertans in their 20s among the 13 COVID-19 deaths reported Saturday – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Two Albertans in their 20s are among the 13 COVID-19 fatalities the province reported on Saturday. 

The deaths of one man and one woman both occurred in the Calgary Zone, which is significantly bigger than the city itself. 

Neither death involved any confirmed comorbidities. Fourteen people under the age of 40 have now died due to COVID-19, including seven under the age of 30.

The province’s death toll now stands at 1,525 people.

The province reported 573 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday as active cases fell for a seventh straight day. Its total case count also rose above the 120,000 mark to 120,330.

Hospitalizations continue a general downward trend as the number of COVID-19 patients fell by 27, to 676. The number of patients in intensive care units fell by one to 114. 

The province administered 10,894 tests with a 5.32 per cent positivity rate.

More than 98,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to Albertans.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, will return for an in-person update on Monday. 

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