You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

COVID-19 Update: 263 new cases, nine deaths | Parents want more info on variants in schools

Calgary Herald logo Calgary Herald 2021-02-17 Newsroom Staff
a kitchen with a dining table: Sanitizers are provided for the students and teachers in a classroom in Henry Wise Wood High School on Friday, August 28, 2020. Sanitizers are provided for the students and teachers in a classroom in Henry Wise Wood High School on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Replay Video

With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.

What’s happening now

My COVID Story: How have you been impacted by coronavirus?

Postmedia is looking to speak with people who may have been impacted by COVID-19 here in Alberta. Are you quarantining due to being exposed to the variant? Have you received your vaccine, and if so did you feel any side effects? Send us an email at reply@calgaryherald.com  to tell us your experience, or send us a message via  this form .

Read our ongoing coverage of personal stories arising from the pandemic.

graphical user interface, application:  Numbers reported by Alberta Health on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Numbers reported by Alberta Health on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Council eyes bigger tax-relief package for businesses in 2021

a tall building in a city:  Downtown Calgary high-rises were photographed on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. © Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Downtown Calgary high-rises were photographed on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

City council took a step toward rolling out a bigger relief package than originally planned for 2021 to shelter businesses from property tax hikes.

A council committee approved Coun. Jeromy Farkas’s proposal Tuesday to spend $44 million to hold non-residential property taxes flat this year.

That’s more than double the $21-million rebate program council approved during last year’s budget talks. That money was meant to ensure businesses didn’t see tax increases in excess of 10 per cent compared to the year before.

But Farkas argued that it’s time for the city to use “every tool” they have to protect businesses, with the COVID-19 pandemic far from over.

Read more .

Braid: Lobbying begins for next phase of Alberta vaccinations

a hand holding a blue toothbrush:  A nurse fills a syringe with a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. © Provided by Calgary Herald A nurse fills a syringe with a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Columnist Don Braid writes:

The real vaccination vexation is about to begin, as more and more groups lobby to get on the early list for shots.

With no clarity at all, it’s inevitable that just about every group that has to face the public will start lobbying furiously.

The stakes are very high for all these people who do essential jobs and have no choice but to deal with the public.

Read more .

Health-care workers back in line for vaccines

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera:  Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, announced Alberta is expanding use of rapid testing in long term care and supportive living facilities for asymptomatic staff, and undertaking a new pilot project with Suncor to test effectiveness of rapid testing in workplace screening. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2020. © Courtesy Government of Alberta Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, announced Alberta is expanding use of rapid testing in long term care and supportive living facilities for asymptomatic staff, and undertaking a new pilot project with Suncor to test effectiveness of rapid testing in workplace screening. Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2020.

Eligible health-care workers have been given the green light to rebook their COVID-19 vaccination appointments with “more vaccines starting to trickle in,” says Alberta’s health minister.

More than 9,000 frontline workers were forced to postpone their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as deliveries of Pfizer and Moderna products were cut to Canada in recent weeks, said Tyler Shandro. But news of large vaccine shipments making their way to the country has restarted the slumped vaccine rollout.

“Alberta can again start offering first doses to eligible health-care workers in Phase 1A. We will also soon be in a position to announce more information on future phases of the prioritization list,” said Shandro in a statement on Tuesday.

“The federal government’s delays and cuts in vaccine shipments over the last month have frustrated all of us. As the vaccine supply starts to increase, Alberta will be able to ramp-up distribution in the days and weeks ahead.”

In Phase 1A of Alberta’s strategy, immunizations are offered to respiratory therapists, paramedics, emergency medical responders and staff in the ICU and emergency rooms. It also includes health-care workers in COVID-19 units, medical and surgical units and operating rooms, in addition to all residents and staff of long-term care and supportive living facilities.

The next phase is expected to include seniors who are 75 years of age or older and First Nations, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Métis Settlement.

The province has yet to announce when this will begin, although the goal is this month.

— Alanna Smith

Liberals, Tories point fingers over lack of vaccine manufacturing, but experts say problem is long-term

a man wearing glasses:  “I would not say that this is the failing of one government.”: Ken Hughes, chair of the board of Providence Therapeutics, testifies during a meeting of the House of Commons industry committee on Monday. © parlvu.parl.gc.ca “I would not say that this is the failing of one government.”: Ken Hughes, chair of the board of Providence Therapeutics, testifies during a meeting of the House of Commons industry committee on Monday.

Liberal and Conservative MPs attempted to lay blame for Canada’s lack of vaccine production at each other’s feet Tuesday, while expert witnesses said the problem is a lack of support for scientific research and production across decades.

MPs on the House of Commons industry committee were meeting to address Canada’s lack of domestic vaccine capacity. The country’s vaccine rollout has been sluggish so far, as international shipments have been regularly delayed and Canada has fallen behind other countries.

Read more .

Disband conflicted, secretive task force behind flawed vaccine effort, MPs told

Amir Attaran wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera:  “We blew it”: Amir Attaran, University of Ottawa health law professor, testifies during a meeting of the House of Commons industry committee on Monday. © parlvu.parl.gc.ca “We blew it”: Amir Attaran, University of Ottawa health law professor, testifies during a meeting of the House of Commons industry committee on Monday.

Born in secrecy, rife with conflict of interest, the task force that guided Ottawa in its stumbling effort to procure COVID-19 vaccine should be heavily revamped or disbanded entirely, expert witnesses argued Tuesday in a blunt dissection of Canada’s vaccine “disaster.”

The federal government was also weeks too late in negotiating contracts with leading vaccine candidates, unwisely sidelined Health Canada and went on a panicked, largely ineffective buying spree when reality sunk in, health policy critics charged before the House of Commons industry committee.

Read more .

Community still in the dark over COVID variants in schools

a group of people sitting at a table in a room:  Empty classroom at an Edmonton school. File photo. Empty classroom at an Edmonton school. File photo.

With more COVID-19 variants detected at Alberta schools, three of which have confirmed in-school transmission, Alberta Health Services is still keeping the public in the dark over which schools are seeing the highly contagious new strains.

But parents say the lack of information only serves to increase anxiety and reduce vigilance in the community.

Read more .

Alberta NDP calls for major changes to critical worker benefit program

Christina Gray holding a sign:  NDP Opposition labour critic Christina Gray (left) and university student Cate Noelck called on the UCP government to consult with labour groups and expand the Critical Worker Benefit Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. © NDP Supplied NDP Opposition labour critic Christina Gray (left) and university student Cate Noelck called on the UCP government to consult with labour groups and expand the Critical Worker Benefit Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

The NDP is calling for the UCP government to make major revisions to its critical worker benefit program, one day before applications open.

Frontline public health-care workers will automatically receive the one-time payment of $1,200, but many workers in the private sector are still awaiting details about whether or not they will be among the more than 380,000 estimated to be eligible.

Read more .

McMaster University prepping for its own COVID-19 vaccine trials

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera:  McMaster University is working on its own COVID-19 vaccine — including one that can be inhaled instead of injected — with hopes of a clinical trial to begin in May. © Supplied/McMaster University McMaster University is working on its own COVID-19 vaccine — including one that can be inhaled instead of injected — with hopes of a clinical trial to begin in May.

McMaster University is working on its own COVID-19 vaccine — including one that can be inhaled instead of injected — with hopes of a clinical trial to begin in May.

The Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory at the Hamilton university has the ability to manufacture “adenoviral homegrown vaccines” on a small scale in order to do clinical trials as a response to the vaccine shortage and Canada’s reliance on foreign companies to provide much-needed doses.

Read more .

Race is on for grocery and pharmacy chains to prepare for possible role in vaccine rollout

 Big-box retailers and pharmacy chains need refrigerators that will stay below -70 C for the Pfizer vaccine and -20 C for Moderna vaccine. © Joe Giddens/Pool via Reuters//File Big-box retailers and pharmacy chains need refrigerators that will stay below -70 C for the Pfizer vaccine and -20 C for Moderna vaccine.

Canada’s biggest grocery and pharmacy chains are stocking up on cold storage technology, banking that various governments will eventually tap the retail sector for help in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines.

One Cambridge, Ont.-based technology company, BlueRover Inc., said it’s working with big-box retailers and pharmacy chains to provide systems that monitor the temperature of vaccine refrigerators and freezers, which need to stay below -70 C for the Pfizer vaccine and -20 C for Moderna. The company’s system, which is also available in bags for transporting vaccines, sends alerts when temperatures dip below those levels.

Read more .

Labour leaders blast public health officials over Olymel outbreak

a group of people performing on a counter:  Workers at the Olymel plant in Yamachiche, Que, in July 2020. The company’s Red Deer plant is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. © Provided by Calgary Herald Workers at the Olymel plant in Yamachiche, Que, in July 2020. The company’s Red Deer plant is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Labour leaders are taking aim at public health officials for failing to mandate a shutdown of the Olymel pork processing plant at Red Deer once it became apparent that COVID-19 was spreading rapidly among the facility’s workforce.

On Tuesday, the Alberta Federation of Labour released a copy of a letter it obtained dated Feb. 11 and addressed to Olymel management from Dr. Mohammed Mosli, medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services’ Central zone.

In the letter, Mosli states that as of Feb. 10, a total of 197 cases had been recorded among Olymel employees since the outbreak at the plant was declared in November. He cautions plant management that on-site testing conducted at the facility yielded a 20-per-cent positivity rate.

“According to this rate, around one in five workers at the plant may be infected and spreading the virus,” Mosli writes.

Read more .

263 new cases, nine deaths

a person holding a wine glass:  Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. © Provided by Calgary Herald Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided a COVID-19 update.

  • 149,138 doses of vaccine administered; more than 54,000 fully immunized
  • 263 new cases of COVID-19 on 5,216 tests; 5% positivity rate
  • 365 in hospital; 56 in ICUs
  • Nine additional deaths; 1,791 total
  • 4,993 active cases; 122,554 recovered
  • Active alerts or outbreaks in 264 schools; 861 cases in these schools since Jan. 11
  • 15 new variant cases on Friday; 18 on Saturday; 10 on Sunday; seven on Monday
  • Many of these cases are close contacts of other cases, Hinshaw said
  • There’s another incident of in-school transmission of the U.K. variant, Hinshaw said; three schools total now
  • Hinshaw said that half of variant cases they’ve completed the investigation on are connected to travel

You can watch the full livestream below.

Replay Video

chart

Hog farmers must ‘wait it out’ as Olymel plant closure threatens to back up pipeline

a close up of an animal:  File photo: Pigs on a farm in Quebec. © Provided by Calgary Herald File photo: Pigs on a farm in Quebec.

Alberta hog farmers will face some difficult choices if the Red Deer pork processing facility at the centre of a major COVID-19 outbreak cannot reopen promptly.

On Monday, Quebec-based Olymel announced it will close its Red Deer plant for an “indefinite period” because of the outbreak, which has resulted in 326 cases of COVID-19 among the facility’s employees as of Monday. One worker — a man in his 30s with no pre-existing health conditions — has died from the disease.

The plant is the second-largest pork processing facility in Western Canada, second only to the Maple Leaf plant in Brandon, Manitoba. Its 1,850 employees process approximately 50,000 pigs per week. Those pigs now have nowhere to go, said Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork.

Read more .

Frustrated with government efforts, business groups push plan to avoid lockdowns

a sign on a pole:  A closed storefront in Kensington in Calgary on May 8, 2020. A closed storefront in Kensington in Calgary on May 8, 2020.

Frustrations with government efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic has led major businesses in this country to decide to take some matters into their own hands to avoid further lockdowns.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce unveiled on Tuesday an advisory group of 20 chief and senior executives to help businesses large and small manage their operations through restrictions and public health concerns.

Among the group are the presidents of vaccine-makers Pfizer Canada and Providence Therapeutics, as well as executives from Shoppers Drug Mart, WestJet and BlackBerry.

Read more.

chart, bubble chart © Provided by Calgary Herald

Poll finds most Canadians blame federal government for vaccine delays

 Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse at the Northwood Care facility in Halifax, gives a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, on Jan. 11, 2021. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse at the Northwood Care facility in Halifax, gives a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, on Jan. 11, 2021.

The vast majority of Canadians blame Ottawa rather than provincial governments for delays in COVID-19 vaccine delivery, a new poll suggests.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents believe Canada is behind on deliveries due to federal challenges obtaining doses on the global market, according to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies.

Only 14 per cent of respondents point the finger at provincial governments.

Read more.

text © Provided by Calgary Herald

It’s only ‘the end of the beginning.’ COVID-19 will be with us for years

a group of people walking down the street:  What will a post-COVID world look like? © John Mahoney/Postmedia, olm26250/Getty Images/iStockphoto, NP Photo Illustration What will a post-COVID world look like?

Respiratory pandemics come along every few decades. Serious ones, every 50 or 100 years. And while the way we have come to live may seem so alien and unnatural, plagues have been “a part of our story for a very long time,” Dr. Nicholas Christakis writes in his new book on this newest plague.

Since the birth of our species, “humans have had countless plagues. We’ve been shaped by those plagues, but then life returns to normal,” the Yale University physician and social scientist said in an interview. All crises have a beginning and end, and we will see the other side of COVID-19, he said, though perhaps not as soon as we hoped. And what, then? How will our lives have changed after the COVID tsunami washes back?

Read more .

Hospitalizations and deaths in Alberta

timeline:  The South Health Campus in Calgary on Nov. 12. © Provided by Calgary Herald The South Health Campus in Calgary on Nov. 12.

Police defend handshake with anti-masker as end to peaceful negotiation at Chinook Centre

a group of people standing on top of a suitcase:  Police attempt to disperse anti-mask protestors at Chinook Centre Saturday afternoon. © Provided by Calgary Herald Police attempt to disperse anti-mask protestors at Chinook Centre Saturday afternoon.

Calgary police say a handshake between an officer and anti-mask protester caught on video at Chinook Centre during a rally Saturday was the end to peaceful negotiations with the crowd.

The video circulating on social media shows a Calgary police officer shaking hands with one of the unmasked protesters at the mall. The officer leans in close to the protester, who is an organizer of the Walk for Freedom rallies, as they shake hands and the two converse while a nearby protester speaks through a megaphone.

Read more.

COVID-19 developments across Canada on Tuesday

a person standing in front of a store:  Restaurants in Winnipeg opened under new COVID-19 restrictions on the weekend. © Chris Procaylo/Postmedia Restaurants in Winnipeg opened under new COVID-19 restrictions on the weekend.

Manitoba is reporting 166 additional COVID-19 cases over the last two days and four deaths. Seven cases from a First Nations community that were identified as potential cases of the United Kingdom variant have turned out not to be, after sequencing.

Nunavut is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today. All of the new cases are in Arviat, a community of about 2,800 on western Hudson Bay. There are 23 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, all in Arviat, and 299 total recovered cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today. All of the latest cases were found in the area including St. John’s, which has been at the centre of a recent COVID-19 surge in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador now has 297 active cases of COVID-19.

Canada’s vaccine rollout is ramping back up with more than 878,000 more Pfizer-BioNTech doses expected in the next two weeks after faltering shipments attributed to production delays abroad. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline across the country despite an alarming flare-up of more contagious variants of the virus.

Ontario is reporting 904 new cases today, and 964 cases that were not reported on the Family Day holiday. Twenty-six deaths were reported over the last two days. There were 742 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of this morning, including 292 in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.

Quebec is reporting 669 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 more deaths, including six in the past 24 hours. Hospitalizations dropped by 33, to 771, and 134 people were in intensive care.

Elise Stolte: Countering vaccine hesitancy with honesty, respect and the facts

a man reading a book:  Bill Goodwin celebrates receiving his second COVID-19 vaccination at Benevolence Care Centre in Edmonton, on Feb. 11, 2021. Bill Goodwin celebrates receiving his second COVID-19 vaccination at Benevolence Care Centre in Edmonton, on Feb. 11, 2021.

Edmonton Journal columnist Elsie Stolte writes:

Eight hours after getting his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Walter Mair was in bed with the chills.

Twenty-four hours after the shot, a “nasty headache” and exhaustion sent him back to bed again. When a good friend called and heard about Mair’s side effects, he was so taken aback he mused “Well, maybe I shouldn’t get it.”

But Mair called him right back. “I said: ‘You need to get it. OK? For 48, 72 hours at most, you might have symptoms. It’s not a big deal. You’ve just got to put up with it.’ … If you really had COVID, it would be magnified 10 times or more.”

Mair, 69, got some of the worst of the side effects. But even he fully recovered within 48 hours. He’s speaking up to help address vaccine hesitancy, which in the long run could be a bigger problem than the drug shortages and slow rollout that dominated the news of late.

Read more .

Edmonton biotechnology company hopeful its COVID-19 vaccine will continue along approval process

a hand holding a remote control:  A pharmacist holds vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. © Yuki Iwamura/Reuters A pharmacist holds vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

An Edmonton biotechnology company is waiting to start the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccine approval after the federal government announced tens of millions of dollars to support vaccine production.

Entos Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr. John Lewis said his company is currently working on two DNA vaccines. Entos has sent one of those vaccines to a lab in Ottawa where it will, in turn, be sent to Halifax, to start Phase 1 of the approval process for public use.

“We decided to select DNA because DNA is much more stable. Our DNA formulations are stable in the refrigerator for a year or at room temperature for a month,” said Lewis.

Lewis said his company had requested $49 million for its vaccine development from the federal government last March. In August, it received $5 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industiral Research Assistance Program to help get its vaccine to Phase 1. It also received $4.2 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research rapid research funding competition.

Read more .

Olymel pork plant in Red Deer temporarily closing as COVID-19 outbreak grows

a group of people preparing food in a kitchen:  Olymel employees work in one of the company’s hog-slaughtering plant in Yamachiche, Que. © Provided by Calgary Herald Olymel employees work in one of the company’s hog-slaughtering plant in Yamachiche, Que.

A pork plant in Red Deer is temporarily closing production due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that has resulted in more than 300 cases and the death of a worker.

The Quebec-based company Olymel announced Monday evening it would be temporarily closing its pork plant in Red Deer for an “indefinite period” because of the growing outbreak. The pork plant has been linked to 326 cases of COVID-19, as of Monday, with 192 active and many others in isolation due to close contact.

Read More. 

Monday

Alberta long-term care group lobby government for bill to protect against COVID-19 lawsuits

a bench in front of a brick building:  Pictured is McKenzie Towne Care Centre on Monday, April 6, 2020. © Azin Ghaffari Pictured is McKenzie Towne Care Centre on Monday, April 6, 2020.

A group representing Alberta continuing-care operators is asking government to introduce legislation that would protect them against lawsuits related to COVID-19, according to a filing with the province’s lobbyist registry.

It’s an issue a federal advocacy group says hinges on the ability for continuing-care providers to obtain insurance they need to operate.

Read More.

Monday

Feds expect Pfizer to start ramping up vaccine deliveries to Canada this week

a close up of a sign:  A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer and Biontech logo in this illustration taken Jan. 11, 2021. © Dado Ruvic / Reuters A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer and Biontech logo in this illustration taken Jan. 11, 2021.

Canada’s sluggish COVID-19 vaccination efforts are expected to get a big boost starting this week as the federal government prepares for a ramp up in the delivery of shots from Pfizer-BioNTech following a month-long lull.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has stated on its website that it expects more than 335,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be delivered this week, though the company says the figure will be closer to 400,000.

Read More. 

Sunday

Sixth Alberta health-care worker dies from COVID-19; province reports 284 new cases

a group of people that are standing in the snow:  Walkers bundled up to stay warm while walking along the Bow River pathway as the extreme cold continued in Calgary on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald Walkers bundled up to stay warm while walking along the Bow River pathway as the extreme cold continued in Calgary on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021.

A sixth health-care worker has died from COVID-19 in Alberta, as the province reports 284 new cases and five deaths on Sunday.

One of the four deaths listed in the Edmonton zone was a health-care worker at a continuing-care facility. The continuing-care worker was a man in his 50s with comorbidities, Alberta Health said.

He is the sixth health-care worker to have died from COVID-19 in Alberta. All six of these deaths have occurred within the last several weeks.

The 284 new cases of COVID-19 detected Sunday came from 7,972 completed tests for a positivity rate of about 3.6 per cent. This was lower than the 3.8 per cent positivity rate on Saturday, and brings the total number of active cases in Alberta to 5,215 — only 56 fewer than the day prior.

Read more .

Sunday

Newfoundland, battered by COVID-19 variant, warns workers of virus outbreaks at 11 Alberta oilsands sites

a factory with smoke coming out of it:  Suncor’s base plant with upgraders in the oilsands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, on Monday June 13, 2017. © Provided by Calgary Herald Suncor’s base plant with upgraders in the oilsands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, on Monday June 13, 2017.

A recent surge in COVID-19 cases that has thrown life in Newfoundland and Labrador into chaos could have links to nearly a dozen Alberta oilsands operations, according to the Maritime province’s outbreak list.

The province is warning rotational workers at 13 out-of-province sites about confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks at workplaces, with all but two in the Alberta oilsands. The list includes outbreaks at the Suncor Base Plant, Syncrude Mildred Lake and Canadian Natural Resources Albian Sands, which have each seen more than 125 cases.

In total, the 11 sites have seen a combined 891 cases, but only nine of those infections remain active.

In discussing the province’s restrictions on returning rotational workers at a press conference Saturday, Newfoundland and Labrador chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said additional precautions must be taken for those returning from these worksites.

Read more .

Sunday

GraceLife Church of Edmonton defies closure order, holds in-person service after pastor charged by RCMP

a man that is standing in the snow:  Two men keep unwelcome visitors from entering the property at GraceLife Church in Parkland County, just east of Edmonton, on Sunday February 7, 2021. The church has defied government pandemic restrictions multiple times and held a church service on this day. © Larry Wong Two men keep unwelcome visitors from entering the property at GraceLife Church in Parkland County, just east of Edmonton, on Sunday February 7, 2021. The church has defied government pandemic restrictions multiple times and held a church service on this day.

A Parkland County church continued to allow people into their morning service today after weeks of defying public health orders and recently having a pastor arrested for his role in past gatherings.

Dozens of vehicles were seen in the parking lot of Gracelife Church of Edmonton, located three kilometres west of the city limit on Highway 627 east of Highway 60, prior to the weekly Sunday service. A check stop was set-up at the entrance to the church and several vehicles were seen passing through shortly before 10:30 a.m.

Two ‘no visitors allowed’ signs were seen at the entrance to the parking lot outside the check stop. Postmedia was told to stand off the property and was referred to the church’s website after asking for comment from workers.

Read more .

Sunday

Manitoba First Nation waits for lab to confirm whether seven cases are U.K. variant

a helicopter in the snow:  Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron unload a CH147F Chinook helicopter as part of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief efforts, upon arrival in Pauingassi First Nation, Manitoba, Canada Feb. 6, 2021 © Capt Aaron Stafrace/RCAF/Handout via REUTERS Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron unload a CH147F Chinook helicopter as part of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief efforts, upon arrival in Pauingassi First Nation, Manitoba, Canada Feb. 6, 2021

PAUINGASSI FIRST NATION, MAN. — A northern Manitoba First Nation was waiting for confirmation Sunday from the National Microbiology Lab on whether multiple COVID-19 cases in the community are a contagious variant first discovered in the U.K.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said in a news release late Saturday that public health officials found seven probable cases of the contagious variant of COVID-19 in Pauingassi First Nation.

The release said the samples were screened at the Cadham Provincial Lab and have since been sent to the national lab in Winnipeg for genomic sequencing, which will confirm whether or they are cases of the British variant.

“This is clearly a very serious situation that continues to evolve and change,” Pauingassi Chief Roddy Owens said in the release.

Read more .

Sunday

Ontario plans to expand vaccination as COVID cases stabilize in several provinces

 Pharmacy staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre prepare the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for southeastern Ontario on Jan. 12, 2021. © Matthew Manor/KHSC Pharmacy staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre prepare the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for southeastern Ontario on Jan. 12, 2021.

Ontario unveiled plans to expand its COVID-19 vaccination rollout to more target groups on Sunday ahead of an expected boost in nationwide shipments of the Pfizer vaccine that could lend ammunition to the provinces’ fights against the spread of contagious variants.

The Ontario government reported Sunday that all long-term care residents across the province had been “given an opportunity” for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The province’s vaccine taskforce told regional public health officers in a memo that it is expanding its focus in the coming weeks, with staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, top priority health-care workers and Indigenous adults in remote and higher risk communities among those first in line for the vaccine.

Delays in vaccine shipments forced the province to concentrate its inoculation efforts on long-term care residents in recent weeks, but the memo says the province expects those deliveries to increase again, allowing it to expand the scope of its vaccination drive.

“Given the expected gradual increase in Ontario’s vaccine supply, the next target groups within the Phase One priority populations have been identified for vaccination,” the memo read.

Read more .

Sunday

Australia suspends travel ‘bubble’ with New Zealand as Auckland goes into lockdown

 Motorists queue at the Otara testing station after a positive COVID-19 coronavirus case was reported in the community as the city enters a level 3 lockdown in Auckland on February 15, 2021. © DAVID ROWLAND/AFP via Getty Images Motorists queue at the Otara testing station after a positive COVID-19 coronavirus case was reported in the community as the city enters a level 3 lockdown in Auckland on February 15, 2021.

WELLINGTON — Australia has suspended quarantine-free travel with neighboring New Zealand after three new community cases of COVID-19 were detected in Auckland over the weekend.

New Zealand said on Sunday it was locking down its largest city after new cases emerged in the country, which has been credited with virtually eliminating the virus within its borders.

Read more .

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Calgary Herald

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon