Edmonton Alberta COVID-19 updates for May 6 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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Friday

Canada’s jobless rate drops to a new low, ensuring interest-rate hikes

Kevin Carmichael, Financial Post

The Canadian economy gained a net 336,600 jobs in February.
The Canadian economy gained a net 336,600 jobs in February. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Canada’s jobless rate dropped to 5.2 per cent, a modern low, all but guaranteeing another outsized increase in interest rates when policymakers at the Bank of Canada end their next round of deliberations on June 1.

Statistics Canada’s latest monthly survey of the labour market didn’t turn up stunning results like it has over the previous few months. Employment was little changed in April, as absences from illness and disability appeared to offset employers’ desire to hire to keep up with strong demand for goods and services.

It’s possible the country’s labour market is hitting its limits after adding more than 400,000 workers over February and March, an unsustainable pace. In April, Statistics Canada’s household survey implied that employers added 15,300 positions, a statistically insignificant change because it was smaller than the poll’s margin of error. The unemployment rate for workers aged 25 to 54 dropped to 4.3 per cent, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976.

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“Slower momentum was inevitable,” said Brandon Bernard, an economist at Indeed, the hiring website.

The Bank of Canada in April concluded that demand had overshot supply, contributing to the fastest inflation in more than three decades. The central bank raised its benchmark rate a half-point in April, and governor Tiff Macklem last month hinted he and his deputies likely will do so again in June. The policy rate is currently one per cent, compared with 0.25 per cent at the start of the year.

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Thursday

Alberta experiencing late season spike in influenza cases

Dylan Short, Calgary Herald

Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Shivali Sharma gives a flu shot to a patient in Edmonton, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.
Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Shivali Sharma gives a flu shot to a patient in Edmonton, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Influenza cases have spiked in Alberta in recent weeks, marking a return of the illness after zero confirmed cases in the province last year.

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Wednesday during a COVID-19 update that there have been 707 cases of seasonal influenza recorded in the province this year. Data online show a large number of those cases were lab-confirmed in April. There were more than 8,000 lab-confirmed cases in the 2019-20 season.

“In Alberta, we have had more than 700 cases diagnosed this season, with the vast majority identified in the past two months,” said Hinshaw. “Actions to lower the risk of influenza infection are the same as those we need to continue for COVID — washing our hands regularly, staying home if sick and, for those at higher risk of severe outcomes, considering actions like wearing masks when in public places.”

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A total of 68 people in Alberta have needed hospital care, including three who were admitted to intensive care. No one has died from the flu this year.

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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

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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.

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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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]


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.

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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.

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.

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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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