Edmonton Alberta COVID-19 updates for May 5 2022 Hinshaw Kenney

Watch this page throughout the day for updates on COVID-19 in Edmonton

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With COVID-19 news changing every day, we have created this file to keep you up-to-date on all the latest stories and information in and around Edmonton.

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Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?

Before calling Health Link use the COVID-19 Assessment & Testing Tool to check symptoms.

Health Link continues to experience high daily call volumes and Alberta Health Services (AHS) is encouraging all Albertans to assess their symptoms or the symptoms of someone they are caring for using the online assessment and testing tool before calling Health Link.

AHS has updated the COVID-19 Assessment and Testing Tool to make it easier for Albertans to assess their symptoms, determine if they should talk to someone about their symptoms, such as their doctor or Health Link staff, access self-care tips to help manage mild COVID-19 symptoms at home and to determine whether or not they are eligible for PCR testing.

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The tool has up-to-date guidance for adults, children and youth and is available at ahs.ca/covidscreen.


What’s happening now

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Help us tell the COVID-19 story in Edmonton

As Alberta continues to navigate the unpredictable waves of COVID-19, we’re looking to hear your stories on this evolving situation.

  • If you are a healthcare worker, has the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions affected how safe you feel at work or in the community?
  • With restrictions lifted how do you feel about heading out in public without a mask?
  • Have you made plans to travel now that most restrictions have been lifted?
  • Are you experiencing symptoms of long-COVID? How is it affecting your life?
  • Are you a parent, how are you coping with fewer restrictions in schools? Do you feel safe allowing your child to go maskless in class?

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Thursday

Canadians’ trips to liquor stores, pharmacies tracked via phones during pandemic

The Canadian Press

Canadians’ movements, including trips to the liquor store and pharmacy, were closely tracked via their mobile phones without their knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic
Canadians’ movements, including trips to the liquor store and pharmacy, were closely tracked via their mobile phones without their knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

OTTAWA — Canadians’ movements, including trips to the liquor store and pharmacy, were closely tracked via their mobile phones without their knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report sent to a parliamentary committee shows.

Outbreak intelligence analysts BlueDot prepared reports using anonymized data for the Public Health Agency of Canada to help it understand travel patterns during the pandemic.

The federal government provided one of these reports to the House of Commons ethics committee as it probed the collection and use of mobile phone data by the public health agency.

The report reveals the agency was able to view a detailed snapshot of people’s behaviour, including visits to the grocery store, gatherings with family and friends, time spent at home and trips to other towns and provinces.

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MPs on the ethics committee expressed surprise at how much detail the report contained, even as all identifying information was stripped out.

“Questions remain about the specifics of the data provided … if Canadians’ rights were violated, and what advice the Liberal government was given,” said Damien Kurek, Conservative MP for Battle River-Crowfoot.

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Thursday

COVID led to 15 million deaths globally, not the 5 million reported – WHO

Reuters

The Covid-19 pandemic killed 13.3 to 16.6 million people in 2020 and 2021, the WHO estimated on May 5, 2022, up to triple the number of deaths attributed directly to the disease.
The Covid-19 pandemic killed 13.3 to 16.6 million people in 2020 and 2021, the WHO estimated on May 5, 2022, up to triple the number of deaths attributed directly to the disease. Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Almost three times as many people have died as a result of COVID-19 as official data show, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, the most comprehensive look at the true global toll of the pandemic so far.

There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the U.N. body said on Thursday.

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The official count of deaths directly attributable to COVID-19 and reported to WHO in that period, from January 2020 to the end of December 2021, is slightly more than 5.4 million.

The WHO’s excess mortality figures reflect people who died of COVID-19 as well as those who died as an indirect result of the outbreak, including people who could not access healthcare for other conditions when systems were overwhelmed during huge waves of infection.

It also accounts for deaths averted during the pandemic, for example, because of the lower risk of traffic accidents during lockdowns.

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Thursday

China bolts people inside their homes to keep COVID at bay

The Telegraph

The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, reports say.
The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, reports say. Photo by SCMP/ Twitter

Chinese officials are bolting residents shut inside their homes to prevent them spreading COVID. Public health workers used wires to barricade doors and installed iron bolts in order to lock people in, according to videos circulating on Chinese social media.

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The videos were the latest sign of an increasingly draconian set of lockdowns that have triggered rare public dissent in China. The country is one of the few places in the world that still follows a strict “zero COVID” policy.

The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, according to the independent publication Caixin Global.

The videos sparked outrage online, where it was pointed out that the measures risked endangering people’s lives as they would have been unable to leave their homes in an emergency.

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“I’m so angry. They really don’t treat people like humans,” wrote one commenter on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Another person compared the situation to being locked inside a concentration camp.

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Thursday

‘Hybrid work is here to stay’: Canadians more productive, happier and richer working part-time from home

Victoria Wells, Financial Post

According to the Cisco survey, working from home part time has translated into $11,000 a year in savings for the average person as they avoid commuting and spend less on gas, transit and food.
According to the Cisco survey, working from home part time has translated into $11,000 a year in savings for the average person as they avoid commuting and spend less on gas, transit and food. Photo by Hannah Beier/Reuters files

The future of work is hybrid as a majority of Canadians say it’s made them happier, healthier, more productive, and even thousands of dollars richer, according to research from Cisco.

Close to three-quarters of Canadians say they’ve seen improvements to work-life balance by breaking up their time between the home and office, the hybrid work study from Cisco said. And the benefits from this new-found flexibility have stretched across all aspects of people’s lives.

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“Our data shows that work has changed forever, to the point it’s improved employees’ well-being, it’s improved work-life balance, it’s improved performance,” Shannon Leininger, president of Cisco Canada, said in an interview.

Flexible schedules have eliminated the daily commute, and 61 per sent said they are saving four hours a day because of it. That’s made it easier for people to connect with loved ones, boosting overall well-being, the study said.

Canadians are saving money, too — and lots of it. According to the survey, working from home part time has translated into $11,000 a year in savings for the average person as they avoid commuting and spend less on gas, transit and food.

Hybrid workers also said their newfound flexibility has made them healthier, giving them more opportunities to exercise and eat better.

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Mental health is seeing a boost as well with 77 per cent saying their stress levels are either improving or staying steady amid their new flexible schedules.

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Wednesday

Alberta expands Paxlovid providers as COVID hospitalizations still on the rise

Madeline Smith, Edmonton Journal

Alberta’s Health Minister Jason Copping and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provide an update on COVID-19 in the province during a news conference in Edmonton on March 23, 2022.
Alberta’s Health Minister Jason Copping and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provide an update on COVID-19 in the province during a news conference in Edmonton on March 23, 2022. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

Alberta doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists will now be able to prescribe the COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid, in a bid to make the drug more readily accessible.

Health minister Jason Copping announced during the weekly provincial COVID update Wednesday that availability would expand beyond the centralized Alberta Health Services access line.

Paxlovid helps stop COVID infections from progressing to more severe symptoms in people who are at higher risk, potentially averting a hospital stay. But the drug needs to be taken within five days of first experiencing symptoms, so anyone who might benefit from it needs to be able to get it quickly.

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Some people who are eligible to take Paxlovid have complained that they’ve had trouble getting their hands on it, and some doctors have been critical that too much of the supply is sitting on shelves.

Positive rapid-antigen tests will now also be accepted in the process of getting Paxlovid.

Hospitals still ‘under significant stress’

The latest wave of COVID appears to be receding across most of the province, but hospitalizations are still creeping upwards.

Albertans also continue to die from COVID. From April 26 to May 2, 69 people in the province died — the youngest was 28, and the oldest was 102.

There are currently 1,267 COVID patients hospitalized across Alberta, including 46 in the ICU. Intensive-care numbers are fairly steady, with one less patient compared to last week, but hospitalizations since last week have jumped by 47 people.

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Wednesday

Unknown number of reports catch COVID after White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Lynn Chaya, National Post

US President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with South African comedian Trevor Noah during the White House Correspondents Association gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2022.
US President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with South African comedian Trevor Noah during the White House Correspondents Association gala at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2022. Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

A number of reporters from CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, Politico, and other news organizations have tested positive for COVID-19 since the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place on April 30, the president of the correspondents association said on Tuesday.

Among those who tested positive after the event of 2,600 attendees are ABC News’s chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, who shook hands with President Joe Biden, and chief national correspondent for Voice of America Steve Herman.

Though the exact number of infections from the gala is unknown, Steven Portnoy, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and CBS News’ White House reporter, said the cases he knew of so far numbered in the “single digits.”

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“We worked hard to publicize our protocols and encouraged those eligible to get booster shots in the weeks leading up to the dinner,” Portnoy told CNN. “Our event implemented protocols that went beyond any guidance or regulation issued by the CDC or the DC health department. We wish anyone who may not be feeling well a speedy recovery.”

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Wednesday

Surveillance aircraft over Ottawa during ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest operated by Canadian special forces, DND confirms

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

Canadian special forces were operating the mystery aircraft that circled Ottawa’s downtown during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in late January and February, this newspaper has confirmed. Canada’s military will be receiving the first of three surveillance aircraft by this summer. The planes will be used by Canada’s special forces for surveillance missions at home and abroad.
Canadian special forces were operating the mystery aircraft that circled Ottawa’s downtown during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in late January and February, this newspaper has confirmed. Canada’s military will be receiving the first of three surveillance aircraft by this summer. The planes will be used by Canada’s special forces for surveillance missions at home and abroad. Photo by Handout /Department of National Defence

Canadian special forces were operating the mystery aircraft that flew over Ottawa during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in late January and February, this newspaper has confirmed.

The U.S.-registered King Air aircraft was airborne over Ottawa on Jan. 28, Jan. 29, Feb. 3, Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, according to data collected by Steffan Watkins, an Ottawa researcher who tracks the movements of vessels and planes.

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For instance, on Feb. 10 the aircraft was flying circular patterns over Ottawa before disappearing from publicly available aircraft tracking systems, Watkins said.

The flights coincided with the large-scale protests held in downtown Ottawa as part of the “Freedom Convoy.”

Protesters in Ottawa demanded the government remove rules designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But other demonstrators also called for the overthrow of the Canadian government.

National Defence spokesperson Dan Le Bouthillier acknowledged the aircraft was in use by Canadian special forces as part of a training mission on Feb. 10. But he stated the flight had nothing to do with the protests.

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Wednesday

Educators face non-stop stress as schools mark Mental Health Week

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Eva Ferguson

The Calgary Board of Education headquarters along 8th St. and 12th Ave. SW. Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
The Calgary Board of Education headquarters along 8th St. and 12th Ave. SW. Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Brendan Miller/Postmedia

As school boards mark Mental Health Week from May 2 to 8, educators are facing high levels of stress amid ongoing staff shortages and no clear path to solving them.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association says even as the province moves toward an endemic phase of COVID-19, the pandemic is still affecting schools, creating high absence rates and increasing stress for staff and students.

“There are serious sub and teacher shortages in multiple jurisdictions across the province,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.

“The pandemic is still with us, teachers are becoming sick, schools are not able to get the subs they need, so everyone is scrambling.

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Wednesday

Beijing steps up COVID curbs as virus spreads in China

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Reuters

A health worker takes a swab sample from an elderly woman to be tested for Covid-19 at a makeshift testing site outside a museum along a street in Beijing on May 4, 2022.
A health worker takes a swab sample from an elderly woman to be tested for Covid-19 at a makeshift testing site outside a museum along a street in Beijing on May 4, 2022. Photo by JADE GAO /AFP via Getty Images

BEIJING/SHANGHAI — Beijing shut scores of metro stations and bus routes and extended COVID-19 curbs on many public venues on Wednesday, focusing efforts to avoid the fate of Shanghai, where millions have been under strict lockdown for more than a month.

The central city of Zhengzhou earlier also announced restrictions, joining dozens of big population centers under some form of lockdown as China seeks to eliminate a virus believed to have first emerged in Wuhan city in late 2019.

But that uncompromising battle is undermining its growth and hurting international companies invested there, data shows, and has also fueled rare public outbursts of discontent.

With dozens of new cases a day, Beijing is hoping mass testing will find and isolate the virus before it spreads. Twelve of 16 city districts held the second of three rounds of tests this week.

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Letter of the day

Malcolm Mayes editorial cartoon
Oiler Connor McDavid wishes to get past first round in NHL playoffs. (Cartoon by Malcolm Mayes) Photo by Malcolm Mayes

Cyclists need education on safe biking

A pleasant walk was marred by a cyclist who startled me when passing on the right side of my body and telling me she had rung her bell and I hadn’t heard it. Another close encounter with the privileged attitude of a cyclist. It is becoming a frequent occurrence where cyclists believe all sidewalks are their roadway.

Why is it that cyclists feel they need to ride on the narrow sidewalks in a community? Sidewalks were built and designed for people who walk. When we are walking side-by-side on a sidewalk, the cyclist expects us to move over so he can get by. When he is coming from behind, we may not hear him approaching (because the trend is not to ring the bell) and he gives us a glaring look because we didn’t move out of the way. When did the sidewalk become the cyclists’ domain?

Bicycles are vehicles, not recreational toys, and are governed by municipal and provincial legislation. All of us should know and understand these laws and reflect on our own roles and responsibilities in keeping ourselves safe. The city should look at re-educating the citizens of Edmonton about what is safe cycling.

K.R. Brown, Edmonton

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Letters Welcome

We invite you to write letters to the editor. A maximum of 150 words is preferred. Letters must carry a first and last name, or two initials and a last name, and include an address and daytime telephone number. All letters are subject to editing. We don’t publish letters addressed to others or sent to other publications. Email: [email protected]


Tuesday

Two new subvariants of COVID appear to dodge natural immunity

Coronavirus mutation is continuously taking place as populations’ immunity grows.
Coronavirus mutation is continuously taking place as populations’ immunity grows. Photo by Getty Images

In the past week, cases of a new variant of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 have tripled in South Africa, two cases have shown up in the United States, and others have appeared in Denmark, Scotland and England. While BA.4 is making its way to other countries, BA.5 has been slower to leave South Africa and Botswana.

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The World Health Organization last month added the two subvariants to its monitoring list, but said it was tracking just a few dozen cases globally.

The two new sublineages can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave, but are far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19, South African scientists found.

“What we are seeing now, or at least maybe the first signs, is not completely new variants emerging, but current variants are starting to create lineages of themselves,” Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP), told the New York Times. Omicron has produced several subvariants since it was identified in South Africa and neighbouring Botswana in November.

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KRISP, part of a virus-research network across South Africa, was able to identify the Beta and Omicron variants because of the knowledge gained from the continent’s fight against HIV.

de Oliveira said BA.4 and BA.5 demonstrate how the virus is evolving as global immunity increases. It appears that in unvaccinated people, the new subvariants evade a person’s natural immunity produced from an infection with the original Omicron variant, BA.1. The two new variants have sprung from BA.1.

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Tuesday

Some in Shanghai get out for rare stroll; Beijing tightens COVID curbs

A resident walks on a street through the fence of a compound during a COVID-19 lockdown in the Jing’an district in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL /AFP via Getty Images
A resident walks on a street through the fence of a compound during a COVID-19 lockdown in the Jing’an district in Shanghai, China, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL /AFP via Getty Images

SHANGHAI/BEIJING — Some of Shanghai’s 25 million people managed to get out on Tuesday for short walks and shopping after enduring more than a month under a COVID-19 lockdown, while China’s capital, Beijing, focused on mass tests and said it would keep schools closed.

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Beijing is desperate to prevent an outbreak now numbering in the dozens of new cases a day from spiraling into a crisis like the one in Shanghai.

Most people in the financial hub of Shanghai are still unable to leave their homes after more than a month of confinement. But a gradual easing of curbs in five of its 16 districts from Sunday, home to about a fifth of the city’s population, allowed some to get out briefly.

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Tuesday

Ontario reports 16 COVID deaths, rise in hospitalizations

Ontario is reporting 16 deaths linked to COVID-19 Tuesday after reporting zero on Monday.

The province says one of those deaths occurred earlier but was added to today’s tally as part of a data cleanup.

The Ministry of Health says there are 1,699 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, an increase from 1,423 reported the previous day.

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There are 202 people in intensive care due to COVID-19, down from 211 the day before.

The province is reporting 1,547 new infections today, but access to PCR testing is limited to certain high-risk groups.

The scientific director of Ontario’s panel of COVID-19 advisers has said multiplying the daily case count by 20 would give a more accurate picture.


Tuesday

Quebec reports 27 new deaths, 25-patient rise in hospitalizations

Montreal police officers on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette
Montreal police officers on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

Quebec has recorded 1,194 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced this morning.

The case tally only includes people who received PCR tests at government screening clinics. It does not accurately reflect the number of cases since it does not include the results of home rapid tests.

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In addition, 27 new deaths were reported, bringing the cumulative total to 15,036.

Some other key statistics from Quebec’s latest COVID-19 update:

  • Montreal Island: 232 cases, 3 deaths.
  • Net increase in hospitalizations: 25, for total of 2,195 (141 entered hospital, 116 discharged).
  • Net decrease in intensive care patients: 2, for total of 76 (12 entered ICUs, 14 discharged).
  • 12,395 PCR tests conducted Sunday.
  • 12,968 vaccine doses administered over previous 24 hours.

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Monday

Mixing with unvaccinated increases COVID-19 risk for vaccinated people, study finds

The Canadian Press

Office workers make their way through a city centre pedway in downtown Edmonton, on Tuesday March 1, 2022. An Edmonton Downtown Business Association survey indicates that about 70% of workers are expected to return to work downtown by summer. Photo by David Bloom
Office workers make their way through a city centre pedway in downtown Edmonton, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. An Edmonton Downtown Business Association survey indicates that about 70% of workers are expected to return to work downtown by summer. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

MONTREAL — While remaining unvaccinated against COVID-19 is often framed as a personal choice, those who spurn the vaccines raise the risk of infection for those around them, a new study suggests.

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The research published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that vaccinated people who mix with those who are not vaccinated have a significantly greater chance of being infected than those who stick with people who have received the shot.

In contrast, unvaccinated people’s risk of contracting COVID-19 drops when they spend time with people who are vaccinated, because they serve as a buffer to transmission, according to the mathematical model used in the study.

Co-author David Fisman, of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana school of public health, said the message of the study is that the choice to get vaccinated can’t be thought of as merely personal.

“You may like to drive your car 200 kilometres an hour and think that’s fun, but we don’t allow you to do that on a highway partly because you can kill and injure yourself, but also because you’re creating risk for those around you,” he said in a recent interview.

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