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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for April 13


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

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Tuesday

Thinking inside the box: U of A researchers showcase new COVID-19 sanitization product

Teser Technologies Phil Alle, right, president and CEO and John Fox, vice-president of business operations, demonstrate the TESER ACT unit at the University of Alberta’s Biosafety Level 3 Lab in Edmonton, April 12, 2022.
Teser Technologies Phil Alle, right, president and CEO and John Fox, vice-president of business operations, demonstrate the TESER ACT unit at the University of Alberta’s Biosafety Level 3 Lab in Edmonton, April 12, 2022. Photo by Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

Alberta researchers are rolling out a product they say can leave items sanitized of COVID-19 in just 60 seconds.

The Alberta-made sanitization product uses Ultraviolet-C (UVC) light from hundreds of LED light bulbs to kill viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19, and will be launched in Edmonton and Calgary this spring.

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The TESER Act unit is a decontamination box, which shines UVC light on items, such as electronics, for 60 seconds and has been tested at the University of Alberta’s Biosafety Level 3 Lab. John Fox, vice-president of business and operations at TESER, a Calgary-based advanced cleaning solutions company, said the device is able to achieve a 99.99 per cent sanitization rate within a minute.

“We’ve been able to test it against a variety of bacterias and viruses, and seeing a really good kill rate, especially against viruses, which is going to be the bigger concern for the next pandemic as people prepare against it,” said Phil Alle, president and CEO of TESER.

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Tuesday

Thousands still on unpaid leave as Liberals late updating federal public service vaccine mandate: unions

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As of March 29, 1,828 federal government employees were on unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to the Treasury Board.
As of March 29, 1,828 federal government employees were on unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 vaccination policy, according to the Treasury Board. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/File

The Liberal government is now a week late on updating its vaccine mandate policy for federal public servants, according to unions, leaving the 1,828 unvaccinated individuals on unpaid leave waiting to find out if they can go back to work.

“If you’re on administrative leave without pay right now, every day that goes by, you’re left wondering what’s going on here,” said Dany Richard, president of the Association of Canadian Financial Officers, which represents financial professionals working in the federal public service. “We were told we’d have that decision by April 6.”

As of March 29, 1,828 employees were on unpaid leave due to the vaccination policy, the Treasury Board told unions last week. That number included employees who attested they were unvaccinated, who didn’t provide an attestation about their vaccine status, and employees who submitted an accommodation request that “was not applicable.”

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Tuesday

Airport traffic expected to surge in 2022, but still below pre-pandemic levels

Travellers wait to check in for their flight at Calgary International Airport on Dec. 27, 2021.
Travellers wait to check in for their flight at Calgary International Airport on Dec. 27, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Passenger traffic through the Calgary International Airport is expected to surge in 2022, but travel in and out of the hub will remain well below pre-pandemic levels.

In their annual presentation to city council Tuesday, airport officials said they expect between 10 to 13 million passengers to pass through their terminals in 2022.

That’s up from 5.7 million in 2020 and 6.3 million in 2021, but still off from the 18 million passengers logged in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic grounding many flights and keeping Calgarians at home.

“We are one of the top airports in the world for connecting flights and we have the highest domestic passenger percentage of all major airports in Canada, which positions us well when it comes to recovering from this pandemic,” Bob Sartor, president and CEO of YYC Calgary Airport Authority, told council Tuesday.

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Tuesday

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation wants return of mask mandates, expanded PCR testing

Two students wearing face masks board a school bus in this file photo.
Two students wearing face masks board a school bus in this file photo. Photo by Getty Images

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation wants the province to bring back a mask mandate because Canada’s chief public health officer says COVID-19 cases are rising across the country.

The federation says it wants the Saskatchewan Party government to reinstate public health measures, including isolation requirements and increased case reporting to the public. It also wants expanded PCR lab testing for teachers and all school staff who deal directly with students.

Lab testing in the province is currently limited to priority populations, including people with chronic illness, Indigenous communities with no access to rapid tests, international travellers from areas of concern and health-care workers.

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Tuesday

As provinces ask people to manage COVID risks, experts say the public has less data

A person squeezes a drop of testing solution into a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing device.
A person squeezes a drop of testing solution into a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing device. Photo by Luke Hendry /Postmedia Network

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, retired teacher Lois Armstrong said local health officials where she lives in Kingston, Ont., provided daily updates about outbreaks, cases and deaths in the community.

Now, Armstrong, 68, said the public is being asked to take a bigger role in managing their risk but information from health authorities is less available than before. Data such as the location of outbreaks, meanwhile, is no longer made public, she added.

“I think it’s very difficult for the average person to assess their own risk,” Armstrong said Monday in an interview. “Kingston is one of the hot spots of Ontario, but they still are only posting the information three times a week, and you can’t go get tested unless you’re really high risk or really sick. So there’s no way of knowing.”

Health experts agree with Armstrong. Provincial governments are telling Canadians to estimate their own sense of risk but those same governments are reducing the amount of data available to residents, they say.

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