What’s happening now
Dr. Verna Yiu out as head of Alberta Health Services
Dr. Verna Yiu has been removed as president and CEO of Alberta Health Services more than a year before her contract was set to expire.
A Monday news release from AHS said a search committee was formed “several months ago” to begin looking for Yiu’s replacement but did not offer a specific reason for Yiu’s departure.
Board chair Gregory Turnbull said in the release that the board has been planning for an “orderly transition.” Mauro Chies, Vice President, Cancer Care Alberta and Clinical Support Services, has been asked to serve as the provincial health authority’s interim CEO.
“We are very grateful for Dr. Yiu’s tireless leadership through the worst days of the pandemic, and we thank her for her years of dedicated service and commitment to AHS and to Albertans,” said Turnbull.
Yiu, whose contract was extended for another two years last June, thanked the staff, physicians and volunteers at AHS.
China sends military, doctors to Shanghai to test 26 million residents for COVID
China has sent the military and thousands of healthcare workers into Shanghai to help carry out COVID-19 tests for all of its 26 million residents as cases continued to rise on Monday, in one of the country’s biggest-ever public health responses.
Some residents woke up before dawn for white-suited healthcare workers to swab their throats as part of nucleic acid testing at their housing compounds, many queuing up in their pajamas and standing the required two meters apart.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday dispatched more than 2,000 medical personnel from across the army, navy and joint logistics support forces to Shanghai, an armed forces newspaper reported.
So far 38,000 healthcare workers from provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and the capital Beijing have been dispatched to Shanghai, according to state media, which showed them arriving, suitcase-laden and masked up, by high-speed rail and aircraft.
It is China’s largest public health response since it tackled the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first discovered in late 2019. The State Council said the PLA dispatched more than 4,000 medical personnel to the province of Hubei, where Wuhan is, at that time.
Shanghai, which began a two-stage lockdown on March 28 that has been expanded to confine practically all residents to their homes, reported 8,581 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 425 symptomatic COVID cases for April 3. It also asked residents to self-test on Sunday.
U.S. poor died at much higher rate from COVID than rich – report
Americans living in poorer counties died during the pandemic at almost twice the rate of those in rich counties, a study released Monday by the Poor People’s Campaign showed.
The study, based on income and death data from over 3,200 U.S. counties, shows an even bigger gap during the Delta variant that made up the U.S.’s fourth coronavirus wave, when people living in the lowest income counties died at five times the rate of those in the highest income counties.
The 300 counties with the highest death rates have an average poverty rate of 45%, and household median incomes on average $23,000 lower than counties with lower rates. Many of the top twenty counties were sparsely populated areas in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, the report shows.
“The neglect of poor and low-wealth people in this country during a pandemic is immoral, shocking and unjust, especially in light of the trillions of dollars that profit-driven entities received,” said William Barber, director of the Poor People’s Campaign, an activist group that aims to correct the United States’ income inequality.
Surging COVID cases force easyJet to cancel UK flights over staff shortages
A renewed surge of COVID-19 in Britain has forced airlines including easyJet to cancel hundreds of flights in recent days as staff sickness levels soar.
England dropped all its coronavirus restrictions earlier this year, including a legal requirement to self-isolate when testing positive and the need to wear masks in public places.
Cases started to surge in Britain near the beginning of last month and by the end of the March 26 week, one in 13 people were believed to be positive with the virus, the highest figure since the pandemic began.
While hospitalization levels are well beålow previous peaks in 2020 and 2021, companies are reporting disruption to services, including at airports.
EasyJet canceled more than 200 flights at the weekend and said around 60 would be canceled on Monday. British Airways also made a small number of cancellations on Sunday and said the issue was affecting airlines and airports in general.
Autism festival relocates after freedom protests take over Olympic Plaza area
An annual celebration for Calgarians living with autism chose to move to a different location due to the ongoing freedom protests in the area.
The Autism Aspergers Friendship Society and Autism Calgary team up to organize a festival for Calgary’s autism community every year on April 2 in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.
The festival has been held at Olympic Plaza for the last nine years, until organizers realized the freedom protests nearby would negatively impact attendees with sensory disabilities, explained event co-ordinator Tracy Mendoza.
“If there was any honking of horns, people protesting or loud sounds that weren’t in the accepted sensory realm, we were afraid that the kids might have a reaction,” Mendoza said.
Shanghai separates COVID-positive children from parents in virus fight
SHANGHAI — Esther Zhao thought she was doing the right thing when she brought her 2-1/2-year-old daughter to a Shanghai hospital with a fever on March 26.
Three days later, Zhao was begging health authorities not to separate them after she and the little girl both tested positive for COVID-19, saying her daughter was too young to be taken away to a quarantine center for children.
Doctors then threatened Zhao that her daughter would be left at the hospital, while she was sent to the center, if she did not agree to transfer the girl to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center in the city’s Jinshan district.
Since her daughter was sent to the center Zhao has had only one brief message that she was fine, sent through a group chat with doctors, despite repeated pleas for information from Zhao and her husband, who is in a separate quarantine site after also testing positive.