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COVID-19 Update: 643 new cases, 12 deaths | Calgary doctor defends sign suggesting COVID-19 is 'similar' to flu

Calgary Herald logo Calgary Herald 2021-01-23 Newsroom Staff
a car parked in a parking lot: Nurses wearing PPE are seen outside the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre assisting patients with their COVID-19 tests. Friday, January 22, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald Nurses wearing PPE are seen outside the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre assisting patients with their COVID-19 tests. Friday, January 22, 2021.
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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. Do you have a child or teen who caught COVID-19? Are you a front-line worker? Have you been immunized? 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.

company name:  Numbers reported by Alberta Health on Friday, Jan. 22. Numbers reported by Alberta Health on Friday, Jan. 22.

COVID-19 outbreak at west Edmonton care home linked to 55 deaths and more than 200 total cases

a man standing in front of a building:  A medical worker enters Capital Care Lynnwood in west Edmonton on Dec. 16, 2020. The facility is the location of a severe COVID-19 outbreak. © Ian Kucerak A medical worker enters Capital Care Lynnwood in west Edmonton on Dec. 16, 2020. The facility is the location of a severe COVID-19 outbreak.

The deadliest COVID-19 outbreak on record in an Alberta long-term care centre is at CapitalCare Lynnwood where 55 residents had died as of Friday.

“They’re not clients. They’re not patients, they’re your family. A lot of times the staff are the only people that some of these patients see and they see them on an everyday basis,” said Susan Slade, president of Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Friday. “It is like a loved one passing away. So, the thought that 55 people have passed away. It is devastating.”

Read more .

‘At least 10’ Loblaws warehouse employees worked while symptomatic with COVID-19: AHS

a sign on the side of a building:  Loblaws company logo on a building in downtown Toronton. © Provided by Calgary Herald Loblaws company logo on a building in downtown Toronton.

A Calgary food distribution warehouse owned by grocery giant Loblaws is in hot water after an inspection found numerous violations of public-health orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In their inspection of Westfair Foods, a warehouse located at 55 Freeport Blvd. N.E. that services Loblaws stores including Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart, Alberta Health Services officials found at least 10 people worked at the site while symptomatic during an ongoing outbreak.

Read more .

Canadians who travel outside Canada could be stranded abroad, Trudeau warns

Justin Trudeau holding a sign:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, January 22, 2021. © Blair Gable/Reuters Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, January 22, 2021.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Friday that anyone travelling outside Canada could face considerable trouble getting back home, as new evidence suggests some COVID-19 variants are both more transmissible and more deadly.

“No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it. Don’t book a trip for spring break,” Trudeau said outside of Rideau Cottage. “We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada at any given moment without warning.”

Read more .

643 new cases, 12 deaths; Active cases below 10,000 for the first time since Nov. 14

Braid: The daily news is dire but there’s hope for a brighter spring in Alberta

a man that is standing in the snow:  A jogger braves the cold for a morning workout on the Crescent Heights pathway on Friday, January 22, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald A jogger braves the cold for a morning workout on the Crescent Heights pathway on Friday, January 22, 2021.

Columnist Don Braid writes:

Good news this week? Hard to believe. But there is some, and it’s very positive indeed.

Amid all the discouraging events — cancellation of Keystone XL, further bleak predictions on the economy, vaccine shortages — it’s clear that Albertans have regained their grip on COVID-19.

This brings real hope that after we fight our way through a glum February, spring will look much brighter.

Read more .

chart © Provided by Calgary Herald

‘It’s a scary thing’: Doctor on COVID ward says pandemic taking emotional toll on workers, patients

a man standing in front of a building:  Dr. Sachin Pendharkar, respiratory physician and professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, outside the Foothills Hospital on Jan. 22, 2021. Dr. Pendharkar is a respiratory physician working on the COVID-19 unit at Foothills. © Provided by Calgary Herald Dr. Sachin Pendharkar, respiratory physician and professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, outside the Foothills Hospital on Jan. 22, 2021. Dr. Pendharkar is a respiratory physician working on the COVID-19 unit at Foothills.

Dr. Sachin Pendharkar is a respiratory physician who has helped treat patients with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, but has recently joined the unit at Foothills Medical Centre dedicated to COVID-19 patients on an on-call basis.

He said working on the ward has presented new challenges, caring for patients who are frightened by their admission to a COVID-19 unit and are unable to be close to their families and loved ones.

“You have a heightened sense of awareness of this virus and the illness it causes, how it affects people not only physically, but even emotionally. It’s a scary thing,” Pendharkar said.

Read more .

Calgary doctor posts sign in clinic suggesting COVID-19 is ‘similar’ to the flu

a store front at day:  The Cranston Ridge Medical Clinic was photographed on Thursday, January 21, 2021. Gavin Young/Postmedia The Cranston Ridge Medical Clinic was photographed on Thursday, January 21, 2021. Gavin Young/Postmedia

A Calgary doctor is defending a message he posted outside his southeast Calgary medical clinic that suggests COVID-19 is “similar” to the flu in the number of people it harms and kills.

Cranston resident Taylor Brett said he was surprised to see the flyer titled “Facts About COVID-19” posted in the window of the Cranston Ridge Medical Clinic as he was walking past.

The flyer posts statistics that say nationally, 96 per cent of Canadians have tested negative for the virus, three per cent of those who contracted it died, and 97 per cent survived.

Read more .

Justin Trudeau mulls mandatory hotel quarantine for returning travellers

 A masked woman views the arrivals board at Calgary International Airport on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald A masked woman views the arrivals board at Calgary International Airport on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

The federal government is mulling a mandatory quarantine in hotels for returning travellers as the country’s top doctor warns that easing COVID-19 restrictions too quickly could cause case numbers to shoot up again.

The federal government is also looking at other options that would make it harder for people to return from foreign trips, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. He said it’s time to “kill the second wave of the virus.”

Read more.

Ontario and Quebec report decreasing numbers of people in hospital with COVID-19

a person holding a sign in front of a brick building © Provided by Calgary Herald

Ontario and Quebec are reporting a decrease in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 as Canada’s largest two provinces remain under significant restrictions. There are 2,662 new cases in Ontario and 87 more deaths.

Some 1,512 people are in hospital, a drop of 21 from Thursday.

A stay-at-home order went into effect in all of Ontario last week. People were directed to only leave home for essential purposes such as food, health care or work.

Health officials in Quebec say hospitalizations decreased today by 27 people to 1,426.

There are 1,631 new cases and 88 deaths.

— The Canadian Press

B.C. premier Horgan says his government can’t close borders to visitors

John Horgan wearing a suit and tie:  Premier John Horgan says his government isn’t in a legal position to prevent people from travelling to British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic. © Don Craig/Government of B.C. Premier John Horgan says his government isn’t in a legal position to prevent people from travelling to British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier John Horgan says his government’s legal advice is that he can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia from other provinces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horgan said he has heard his citizens’ concerns that travellers from outside the province are contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. Last week, he said he would take legal advice and late Thursday said in a statement that there are few legal options for restricting most interprovincial travel.

He suggested in a news release that his government would have to prove the harm caused by such a traveller. “We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians.”

Read more .

Despite current shortages, government insists all Canadians will get COVID vaccine by September

a man in a military uniform:  Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin: “We expect a rapid scale up with deliveries in upcoming weeks following this current supply disruption.” © Justin Tang/The Canadian Press/File Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin: “We expect a rapid scale up with deliveries in upcoming weeks following this current supply disruption.”

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said the government has received assurances from Pfizer that they will meet that four million target.

“We are still on track to receive the four million doses of this vaccine that we were expecting by the end of this quarter.”

The government’s projections released Thursday, show that with Pfizer and Moderna alone, the country should have enough vaccines to inoculate 36 million Canadians before the end of September.

Read more .

Alberta doctors answer the 20 most frequently asked questions about COVID-19

a man wearing a blue shirt:  Dr. Noel Gibney, co-chair of the Strategic COVID-19 Pandemic Committee. © David Bloom Dr. Noel Gibney, co-chair of the Strategic COVID-19 Pandemic Committee.

Many common questions and misconceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic are circulating through Alberta.

In an effort to set the record straight, a panel of physicians from the Strategic COVID-19 Pandemic Committee, formed by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association , has put together evidence-based answers to 20 frequently asked questions (with information current as of mid-January).

These physicians work in public health, intensive care, emergency medicine, family medicine, laboratory medicine, infectious diseases, general internal medicine, psychiatry, geriatrics, and pediatrics.

Read more.

Calgary church, furniture business cited for COVID-19 violations

a group of people in a room:  The United Nurses of Alberta have file grievances over Alberta Health Services hiring external registered nurses as contact tracers. © Ian Kucerak The United Nurses of Alberta have file grievances over Alberta Health Services hiring external registered nurses as contact tracers.

Public health authorities have censured a Calgary church and closed down a furniture business for breaching COVID-19 regulations.

In an enforcement document dated Jan. 20, Alberta Health Services states Pastor David Adkins of the Northside Baptist Church at 3682 48 Ave. N.E. refused to allow inspectors into the building to assess compliance last Sunday.

Meanwhile, AHS ordered Dynamic Furniture Co. at 5300 61 Ave. N.E. to close as of Thursday after it was found staff who’d had close contact with COVID-19 infected individuals were working instead of being quarantined.

Read more .

Thursday

‘Not in the clear’: Case numbers fall, but COVID-19 restrictions remain in place

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera:  Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Current COVID-19 restrictions have been extended for an undetermined amount of time despite “encouraging numbers,” Alberta’s top doctor announced Thursday.

“Our cases are falling but we still have the second-highest active case rate per capita in Canada,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

“It is also particularly important to keep our current hospitalization numbers in context. While our hospitalizations have decreased significantly from the peak, they remain high.”

Read more .

Thursday

678 new cases, 16 deaths; No easing of restrictions yet, Hinshaw says

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 678 new cases on ~14,000 tests; 4.8% positivity rate
  • 16 deaths; 1,500 total
  • 726 in hospital; 119 in ICUs
  • 10,256 active cases; 107,358 recovered
  • Hinshaw says no easing of restrictions yet
  • She said the decision hasn’t been made yet on how long the restrictions will last and they are watching COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions particularly
  • Active alerts in 178 schools; outbreaks in four schools; 282 cases in these schools;
  • 23 schools have experienced in-school transmission; three schools with multiple cases of in-school transmission
  • Average of 80 cases per day in school-aged children, lower than average of 140 cases the week before school started, Hinshaw said

You can watch the full update below.

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