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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for May 5


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

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Wednesday

Alberta expands Paxlovid providers as COVID hospitalizations still on the rise

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives an update on COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives an update on COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Photo by Chris Schwarz /Government of Alberta

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.

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Health minister Jason Copping announced during the weekly provincial COVID update Wednesday that availability would expand beyond the centralized Alberta Health Services access line.

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.

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Wednesday

Positivity rates, wastewater levels continue to drop: Copping

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Health Minister Jason Copping.
Health Minister Jason Copping. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia, file

During a COVID-19 update Wednesday, Health Minister Jason Copping said positivity rates and wastewater numbers continue to decline in the province.

He also said while wastewater is still high in Calgary, officials are seeing what is perceived as the beginning of a drop.

“It is too soon to say for sure,” he said. “However, most other sites have dropped for at least a week. Most are down sharply, or fluctuating well below their peaks.”

Copping said it looks like the province is passing the peak of BA.2 circulation, with less impact than seen with BA.1.

“(That) is thanks to vaccine and prior exposure,” he said. “But, hospital admissions are still rising, and they will continue to rise for a few more weeks.”

During his update, Copping said hospitals remain under significant stress. He said the province is seeing the equivalent of yet another winter peak in patient volume.

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Separately, more changes have been announced for access to COVID-19 treatment option Paxlovid. Copping said Albertans can now be assessed and prescribed Paxlovid directly from a family doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist.

“We’re making these changes to help more Albertans access Paxlovid,” he said. “But a reminder, the clinical criteria are based on expert judgement of the risks and benefits of the drug. They are based on the evidence, and those criteria remain in place.”


Wednesday

Alberta reports 5,735 new cases, 69 deaths over seven-day period

Here are COVID-19 numbers released today by Alberta Health, covering a seven-day period from April 26 to May 2:

  • The province is reporting 5,735 new COVID-19 cases over seven days, through 25,568 tests completed.
  • There are 1,267 people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 47 since April 27. There are 46 people in ICU, a decrease of one since April 27.
  • There were another 69 COVID-related deaths reported to Alberta Health Services, bringing the total to 4,321 since the start of the pandemic. There have been 1,006 deaths reported in Alberta since Jan. 1.
  • Alberta’s two-dose vaccination rate for the population age 12 and over is 86.9 per cent.

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Wednesday

Hospitalizations continue to rise slightly in Alberta

Rockyview General Hospital in southwest Calgary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.
Rockyview General Hospital in southwest Calgary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia


Wednesday

Government must tell Canadians if it’s tracking their data, let them opt out: ethics committee

The Public Health Agency of Canada used data from cell towers to gather information from 33 million mobile devices.
The Public Health Agency of Canada used data from cell towers to gather information from 33 million mobile devices. Photo by File

OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee says the federal government needs to tell Canadians if it’s collecting data about their movements, and allow them to opt out of that collection.

Those are some of the recommendations made by the ethics committee, which started looking into the issue back in January after public outcry about the federal health agency’s secret collection of data from cell providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Public Health Agency of Canada used data from cell towers to track 33 million mobile devices as a way to assess “population mobility patterns” during pandemic lockdowns, and issued a tender in December to continue tracking location data until May 31, 2023.

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The committee said the government should notify people about these programs “in a manner that clearly outlines the nature and purpose of the data collection.”

It’s also calling for changes to privacy laws so that de-identified information and aggregate data are considered personal information, subject to privacy protections.

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Wednesday

Quebec to end COVID-19 mask mandate May 14

A server brings an order to a customer at a restaurant in Montreal, Sunday, June 6, 2021.
A server brings an order to a customer at a restaurant in Montreal, Sunday, June 6, 2021. Photo by Graham Hughes /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec’s top public health official said Wednesday the peak of the pandemic’s sixth wave has clearly passed and the province is ready to end its mask mandate for indoor public spaces on May 14.

“All the indicators are down, be it the number of cases, the number of health-care employees who are positive (for COVID-19), the number of hospitalizations,” interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau told reporters in Quebec City. “The whole portrait is getting better and better.”

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Boileau said masking will remain mandatory on public transportation and in health-care facilities. It will also be recommended in seniors residences and other facilities that may be home to vulnerable people.

“The virus is not leaving us on the 14th,” Boileau cautioned. “It will continue to be there.”

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Wednesday

Moderna sees higher COVID vaccine sales later this year

In this file photo taken Dec. 15, 2021, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine awaits administration at a vaccination clinic in Los Angeles.
In this file photo taken Dec. 15, 2021, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine awaits administration at a vaccination clinic in Los Angeles. Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN /AFP via Getty Images / Files

Moderna Inc on Wednesday forecast higher vaccine sales for the second half of the year than in the first six months, as it expects the virus that causes COVID-19 to follow a more seasonal pattern requiring booster shots in the fall.

The U.S. vaccine maker is developing a potential next generation booster targeted at both the Omicron variant as well as the original strain of the coronavirus in hopes of producing broader protection.

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“The desired features for a northern hemisphere fall winter booster we think will be that it improves the durability of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron,” said Moderna President Stephen Hoge.

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Wednesday

Beijing steps up COVID curbs as virus spreads in China

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 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 centres 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 fuelled rare public outbursts of discontent.

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