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Your letters for Oct. 17 – Calgary Herald

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Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health

With respect, CPS can do better

I greatly respect the CPS, but I think J.A. Redford misunderstands the situation. City council never said “honourable police officers” are guilty of systemic racism, discrimination, etc., rather that the CPS organization is guilty of that.

Instead of feeling your reputation has been besmirched, you should be asking “What do others see about the CPS that I don’t see?” The most obvious thing is recruiting. The CPS recruits heavily from the U.K. and I wonder why it doesn’t recruit from police forces in India or the Philippines or Nigeria, all of which have significantly larger forces to select from. The CPS is not saying “coloured people need not apply”, but they are saying “white people are welcome to apply”.

You fail to mention that more than one female officer has complained about sexist attitudes, and there are fewer of them.

It is not good enough for officers to say “I’m not a racist and I don’t discriminate therefore I’m not part of the problem.” Look at it from the perspective of those who have had adverse interactions and ask “What could the CPS do better and why isn’t it happening?”

John Piera, Calgary

Ordinary versus privileged

Re: AFL‘s boycott only serves to stoke political flames, Opinion, Oct. 13

AFL president Gil McGowan refers to his members as “ordinary Albertans.” A more accurate term would be “privileged Albertans.”

Without private sector taxes, the public sector could not exist. Through their income taxes, private-sector workers are forced to pay for those better wages (9.3% better on average) and better benefits, while few are entitled to such benefits themselves. I have also not heard of one full-time government employee who lost their job or wages due to the pandemic.

Yes, there is a “union advantage.”  And ordinary Albertans are being taken advantage of.

Christine Buchanan, Calgary

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At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health – Goldstream News Gazette

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Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Calgary COVID outbreak of at least 49 active cases linked to recent wedding: officials – The Province

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CALGARY — Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Public health urging flu shots amid pandemic – The Sudbury Star

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File photo/Postmedia Network

It’s more important than ever to get a flu shot this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, say public health officials.

“We definitely want people to get the flu shot this year,” said Lambton medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade. “There are early indications that it may offer additional protection against COVID-19.”

The degree of that protection isn’t clear, he said, “but even if it’s a little bit, it’s probably worth taking this year.”

There’s “very preliminary research” in countries that have already had COVID-19 outbreaks during their winter flu seasons that shows flu shots had an effect on the severity of COVID-19 and disease mortality, he said.

Why also isn’t clear, he said.

“It’s possible it just revs up your immune system a little bit and prepares it to handle all kinds of respiratory diseases, but that’s just speculation.”

Bookings for flu shot clinic appointments via the health unit in Lambton began Oct. 20. People are asked to visit lambtonpublichealth.ca/flu-shot or call 519-383-8331.

Flu shots are also given at pharmacies and via primary-care providers.

The shot, recommended for anyone six months or older, is also helpful to reduce the prevalence of sickness in the community and to keep people from crowding hospital emergency rooms, Ranade said.

Bluewater Health generally plans for a “surge” of patients in winter months.

“The flu vaccine is proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu,” said health unit supervisor Crystal Palleschi in a statement.

“During a pandemic, it’s important to reduce the strain on the health-care system from other infections, so we have the capacity to respond to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 and influenza spread similarly – through coughing, sneezing or touching infected surfaces, health officials said.

People 65 years and older, under five years old, with chronic health conditions, pregnant and living in care facilities are more vulnerable to flu and COVID-related complications, health officials said, urging anyone in close contact with people in those groups to get a flu shot.

Proper handwashing, covering coughs with tissues or sleeves, keeping surfaces clean, and staying home if sick are also important measures to help stop the spread of both viruses, officials said.

“This is one of those years where flu shots are kind of like toilet paper and hair dye – everybody is going to want one,” said Ranade, cautioning people they may have to wait.

“So it’s important to stay patient and recognize that getting your flu shot this year is important, but whether you get it this week, next week, or the week after is not materially different to your risk.”

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