What’s happening now
Alberta reports 2,348 new cases, 51 deaths over seven-day period
Here are updated numbers for the week of May 24 to May 30, released by Alberta Health on Wednesday:
- There have been 2,348 new COVID cases reported across Alberta over seven days, through 13,872 tests.
- There are 931 people in hospital with COVID, a decline of 109 from last week. There are 29 people in ICU, two fewer than last week.
- There were 51 COVID-related deaths reported from May 24 to May 30. There have been 4,558 total deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
- The average positivity rate for PCR tests is 16.9 per cent, compared to about 17.5 per cent last week, indicating lower levels of transmission.
K-Days returns to Edmonton in July after two-year pandemic pause
Explore Edmonton announced the return of K-Days to the city after a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summer event, which will run from July 22-31 at the exhibition grounds, will play host to rides, food vendors and entertainment.
President and CEO of Explore Edmonton, Traci Bednard, in a Wednesday news release said the iconic event is worth roughly $70 million in revenue to the City of Edmonton.
“We know that K-Days evokes so many memories for Edmontonians; it is something our community can rally around and look forward to,” says Bednard. “We are thrilled to be able to bring that back.”
Alberta doctors renew call for action as survey suggests worsening youth mental health
Alberta doctors say children’s mental health needs “urgent attention” as a new survey offers a snapshot of escalating issues among the province’s youth.
In an online panel survey conducted from May 4-17 via the Alberta Medical Association’s albertapatients.ca platform, 713 parents answered questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their children’s health. Two-thirds of the parents surveyed said the mental health of at least one of their children is worse compared to before the pandemic began.
The results are especially stark for parents of high-school-aged kids, with 77 per cent of parents of children 15 and older reporting deteriorating mental health for their kids.
Health workers and youth advocates have previously raised alarm about the situation, reporting a spike in youth with eating disorders, as well as more young people seeking help for depression, anxiety, substance use and self-harm.
Canada authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 booster for 16- and 17-year-olds
Canada on Wednesday authorized a single booster shot of Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Regulator Health Canada had cleared an extra dose of the vaccine for people 18 and older in November last year. The booster is meant to be administered six months after the primary two-dose series.
The decision was based on data from two studies of the booster shot among individuals 16 and older. The agency said potential risks of inflammatory heart conditions, myocarditis or pericarditis, have been included in the shot’s label.
Delta Air Lines sees snapback to pre-pandemic levels
Delta Air Lines Inc on Wednesday forecast upbeat revenue for the second quarter, betting on pent-up demand as travellers plan more trips undeterred by the higher prices of tickets, accommodation and rental cars.
“The demand out there continues despite all the concerns in the marketplace around the health of the consumer,” Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said at a conference.
The comments come at a time when consumer spending power has been sapped by soaring inflation and there have been fears of slowing global growth due to looming interest rate rises.
3M expects $300 million revenue hit from China COVID lockdowns
Industrial conglomerate 3M CO on Wednesday warned of a $300 million hit to revenue in the current quarter as COVID lockdowns in China slam demand and worsen supply chain issues.
The company also expects an impact of 30 cents to per-share earnings in the second quarter, Chief Executive Michael Roman said at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.
China’s “zero COVID” policy to combat the Omicron variant triggered fresh lockdowns and shut factories, hurting the sales prospects of businesses worldwide as consumers dialled back spending in the world’s second-biggest economy.
Pandemic measures to remain at border for at least another month, PHAC announces
COVID-19 restrictions at the border will remain in place for at least another month, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported Tuesday.
The agency made the announcement on Twitter the day after Parliament voted down a Conservative motion to revert to pre-pandemic rules for travel.
Several pandemic restrictions are in place at Canadian airports and land borders, including vaccine mandates, random COVID-19 tests and the requirement that international travellers answer pandemic-related questions on the ArriveCan app. Travellers must also wear masks on planes and passenger trains.
Conservative motion to scrap COVID travel restrictions in Canada defeated in House
COVID-19 restrictions at the border will remain in place for at least another month after a Conservative motion calling for the removal of all pandemic travel restrictions was shot down.
The motion put forward by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill) was defeated 202 to 117 on Monday in the House of Commons.
Current COVID-19 travel restrictions include random testing, proof of vaccination verification, and completion of mandatory ArriveCAN questions before entering Canada from an international destination (although requirements vary based on a traveller’s age, citizenship and vaccination status).
COVID-19 death toll highest in Quebec, lowest in Nova Scotia: study
Researchers are having a hard time explaining why Quebec had the country’s highest official COVID-19 death toll despite a relatively low number of excess deaths between March 2020 and October 2021.
A new study released Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal tried to answer that question, but came up short.
“I would say at this point it’s something we need to understand,” Kimberlyn McGrail, professor at University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health, said in an interview.
The study, “Excess mortality, COVID-19 and health-care systems in Canada,” says Quebec had 4,033 excess deaths between March 2020 and October 2021, but reported 11,470 COVID-19 fatalities — almost three times more. It’s the biggest gap recorded in Canada during the pandemic. Excess deaths refer to the degree to which observed deaths exceed expected deaths based on modelling from previous years.