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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Feb. 9


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

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Help us tell the COVID-19 story in Calgary

Just when it seemed like things were getting back to normal, Omicron has changed everything. We’d like to hear from you on this latest wave of the virus.

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  • Have you or your business been affected by the blockade at the Coutts border crossing?
  • If you are a health care worker, how does Omicron compare with past COVID-19 waves?
  • How have you coped with testing requirements and rapid test kits?
  • Is your employer or school asking for a written doctor’s note in place of a provincial PCR test?
  • Are you having a difficult time proving you had COVID-19?

Contact us by sending an email to reply@calgaryherald.com or send your comments via this form.


City council to discuss next steps as restrictions lifted

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In a series of tweets sent out early Wednesday morning, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said a council committee will be briefed on what steps the city can now take after being “frozen out” of pandemic discussions with the province.

The mayor also expressed concern about the latest move to lift most restrictions.

“We pleaded for more engagement, more access to data, more input into mitigation measures,” wrote Gondek. “It fell on deaf ears, repeatedly.”

She said professional associations, the business community and parent advocacy groups were also ignored by the province.

The mayor accused the provincial government of lifting restrictions without any data or plan to back up their decision.

“Once again, we will be considering complex public health decisions because the provincial government did not engage stakeholders,” wrote the mayor.

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Tuesday

Alberta announces staged plan to removing all COVID-19 measures, beginning with vaccine passport removal

Premier Jason Kenney provides an update on COVID-19 restrictions from the McDougall Centre in Calgary. Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
Premier Jason Kenney provides an update on COVID-19 restrictions from the McDougall Centre in Calgary. Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Alberta will remove the provincial restrictions exemption program (REP) at midnight Tuesday as the first step of a three-staged approach to removing all public health measures in the coming months, Premier Jason Kenney announced.

Kenney said the REP, widely considered a vaccine passport, no longer serves any purposes as Alberta’s vaccination rate has been effectively frozen for weeks. The first stage of the provincial plan will also see gathering limits removed on venues with a capacity of fewer than 500 people. Restrictions on food and beverage sales while seated in an audience will no longer be in effect.

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“The restriction exemption program has served its useful purpose. It’s done its job, It is no longer leading to higher vaccination rates,” said Kenney. “Our approach to COVID must change as the disease changes.”

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Tuesday

‘I’m disappointed in humankind’: Immunocompromised Albertans react to province’s plan to lift restrictions

Marleigh Goulet’s autoimmune condition puts her at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. She said she feels immunocompromised people have been left out of the conversation as Alberta’s UCP government announced plans to reopen on Feb. 8.
Marleigh Goulet’s autoimmune condition puts her at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. She said she feels immunocompromised people have been left out of the conversation as Alberta’s UCP government announced plans to reopen on Feb. 8. Photo by supplied

Marleigh Goulet sprays disinfectant on every surface before she touches it.

She wears a mask and gloves, even when outside. When she has to buy groceries, she checks to see how many cars are in the store’s parking lot before she goes in. That’s because for Goulet, a COVID-19 diagnosis could be fatal.

“My hepologist told me that if I catch COVID, I will die,” Goulet said. “I have to spray everything because I cannot take the chance. Especially with Omicron, I can’t take the chance of getting sick.

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Tuesday

Province lifts mask requirements for K-12 students as school boards consider their own plan

Students at Western Canada High School exit the school for their lunch break on their first day of being back in classes in the new year on Monday, January 10, 2022.
Students at Western Canada High School exit the school for their lunch break on their first day of being back in classes in the new year on Monday, January 10, 2022. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

As part of a provincial road map out of the pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney has removed mask requirements for students in K-12 schools starting next Monday.

But it remains to be seen whether Calgary’s public and separate school boards will follow suit.

Both the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District implemented their own mask mandates last fall during the province’s catastrophic fourth wave, even after the province exempted schools from masking, then instituted a mandate later in the fall.

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Tuesday

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says vaccine program also lifts in Calgary at midnight

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Mayor Jyoti Gondek speaks at Calgary city hall on Nov. 8, 2021.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek speaks at Calgary city hall on Nov. 8, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Mayor Jyoti Gondek held a press conference today after the completion of the provincial COVID-19 update that announced the provincial plan to lift public health measures.

During her press conference, she clarified the City’s vaccine passport program also lifts when the provincial Restriction Exemption Program does, which will take place at midnight.

She added for the time being, the mask bylaw that is in place will remain.

According to a City of Calgary press release, The removal of REP means proof of vaccination, negative test or medical exemption will no longer be required to access City facilities or businesses and organizations covered under the bylaw effective Feb. 9.

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Tuesday

Alberta reports 81 more hospitalizations

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers released by Alberta Health:

  • The province is reporting 1,667 new COVID-19 cases, from 4,269 tests completed.
  • There are 1,623 people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 81 since yesterday. There are 129 people in ICU, an increase of 11 since yesterday.
  • There were another 13 COVID-related deaths reported to Alberta Health Services, bringing the total to 3,686 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 367 deaths since Jan. 1.
  • There are 28,265 recorded active infections in the province, a decrease of 1,829 since yesterday. The Calgary zone has 39 per cent of active cases in the province, reporting a total of 11,146 active cases.
  • Alberta’s two-dose vaccination rate for the population age 12 and over is 86.3 per cent.

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Tuesday

Almost half of Canadians sympathetic to ‘concerns and frustrations’ of Ottawa trucker protest

A supporter takes part in the continuing truckers’ protest against mandated vaccinations, in Ottawa on Feb. 2, 2022.
A supporter takes part in the continuing truckers’ protest against mandated vaccinations, in Ottawa on Feb. 2, 2022. Photo by ERROL MCGIHON / Postmedia News

Nearly half of Canadians believe the prime minister and provincial premiers are partially to blame for the ongoing protest in Ottawa due to their “condescending attitude toward Canadians who disagree with vaccine mandates and lockdowns,” according to a new poll.

Leger surveyed 1,546 people between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6 and found that, while 62 per cent of all respondents strongly or somewhat oppose the Freedom Convoy protest, 44 per cent of those who are fully vaccinated said they could sympathize with “the concerns and frustrations being voiced by people involved in the trucker protest in Ottawa.” One third (32 per cent) of Canadians support the protest, while seven per cent are undecided.

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Tuesday

RCMP working to diffuse Coutts border blockade; protesters will be fined or charged

The road block on Highway 4 outside of Milk River heading towards the Coutts border crossing as protesters continue to slow down traffic but still keep a lane open in both directions on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
The road block on Highway 4 outside of Milk River heading towards the Coutts border crossing as protesters continue to slow down traffic but still keep a lane open in both directions on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Protesters at the Coutts border will be fined or charged, according to the province and the RCMP.

RCMP deputy chief Curtis Zablocki said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon they are actively working to diffuse the 11-day blockade of Alberta’s most important border crossing, but they are trying to do so peacefully.

“Make no mistake, there are criminal activities taking place at these protest sites that violate both criminal code and provincial laws,” said Zablocki. “We’ve seen activities that are both dangerous and reckless and are having a very negative effect on Albertans who live in the area.”

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Tuesday

Multiple provinces relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, say risk assessment lies with citizens

A man walks by an empty restaurant in Montreal on January 20, 2022. Quebec plans to lift most restrictions by March 14.
A man walks by an empty restaurant in Montreal on January 20, 2022. Quebec plans to lift most restrictions by March 14. Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/File

Saskatchewan and Quebec announced plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, saying it will increasingly be up to citizens to assess the risks they face from the virus.

Prince Edward Island also outlined plans to end most restrictions early in April, with Premier Dennis King cautioning that the loosening is not a declaration of victory. “COVID is still with us, and it will be with us,” he said.

Saskatchewan is going the furthest, as Premier Scott Moe said the province will no longer require COVID-19 vaccine passports as of Monday and will not renew its indoor mask mandate when it expires at the end of March.

Moe told reporters in Regina that the policy requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to dine at restaurants, go to bars or purchase liquor is divisive and has “run its course.”

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Tuesday

Saskatchewan premier says proof of vaccination ending Monday

Premier Scott Moe puts a mask on during a press conference at the Legislative Building.
Premier Scott Moe puts a mask on during a press conference at the Legislative Building. Photo by Michael Bell /Regina Leader-Post

As of 12:01 a.m. Monday, Saskatchewan will no longer require proof of vaccination or negative tests in businesses, workplaces and other public venues.

“Proof of vaccination has been an effective policy, but its effectiveness has run its course,” Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday.

“The benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It’s time to heal the divisions over vaccination in our families, in our communities and in our province. It’s time for proof of vaccination requirements to end.”

The remaining public health orders requiring masking in indoor public spaces will remain in effect until the end of February.

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Tuesday

Two-thirds oppose Ottawa protest, but many sympathize with frustration: survey

A protester carrying an empty fuel container on a broom handle walks past Ontario Provincial Police officers, as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns continues into its second week in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.
A protester carrying an empty fuel container on a broom handle walks past Ontario Provincial Police officers, as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions that has been marked by gridlock and the sound of truck horns continues into its second week in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.

Almost two-thirds of Canadians oppose the Ottawa protest against COVID-19 measures, with more than four in 10 saying they strongly consider the demonstration a selfish display, a new poll suggests.

But almost 30 per cent of Canadians surveyed by Leger disagreed with that characterization of the demonstration against COVID-19 measures that has seen hundreds of large trucks create gridlock and incessant noise in the national capital.

In addition, 44 per cent of those polled said they sympathized with the frustrations being voiced by the protesters.

Read more.

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