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
- Alberta is running a pilot on “pool testing” in order to expand testing capacity for COVID-19.
- With little information available, parents are anxious about back-to-school decisions.
- The McDonald’s restaurant at 8235 Bowridge Crescent N.W. has temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
- Stats Canada is reporting hundreds more deaths than usual since the start of the pandemic, and more than can be attributed to coronavirus.
- Alberta reported 84 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Friday. There are 1,036 active cases in the province.
- Two new locations in Calgary were added to Alberta Health’s outbreak list: the Fledglings Educare Centre and Cargill Case Ready.
- The Town of Banff expanded its mandatory mask bylaw to include parts of Wolf Street and Bear Street.
- The Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District are introducing mask policies to include all students, including grades K-3.
- The U.S. border closure has been extended to Sept. 21.
- AHS will reinstate parking fees for staff and the general public at the end of August.
- The Calgary International Beer Festival has been postponed until 2021.
- Two Calgary buffets were warned by AHS about not letting multiple customers touch serving utensils.
- A new report from the Angus Reid Institute shows half of Albertans are satisfied with the current level of restrictions.
- Calgary Transit will end seating restrictions on Aug. 17.
- The province reported Wednesday 121 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. There are 1,044 active cases in Alberta.
- There are two cases at the BrightPath Richmond Childcare Centre, Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported on Monday.
Moe says efforts to curb coronavirus among Hutterites is working, despite new cases
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says most of the new COVID-19 cases reported in the province over the past few days are from Hutterite communities, but he suggests there’s reason for optimism.
Moe says in a tweet Sunday that of the 97 new cases reported over the previous four days, 87 are from Hutterite communities.
But the same time, Moe tweeted that many of the Hutterite communities with earlier outbreaks are now down to almost no active cases, so he says the efforts of those communities working closely with the province’s health authority are working.
U.S. coronavirus death toll hits 170,000 ahead of fall flu season
The United States surpassed 170,000 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, as health officials express concerns over COVID-19 complicating the fall flu season.
Deaths rose by 483 on Sunday, with Florida, Texas and Louisiana, leading the rise in fatalities.
The United States has at least 5.4 million confirmed cases in total of the novel coronavirus, the highest in the world and likely an undercount as the country still has not ramped up testing to the recommended levels. Cases are falling in most states except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Illinois.
Indeterminate test results spur COVID-19 confusion
Breanna Excell decided to go get a COVID-19 test last week, like hundreds of thousands of Albertans before her. A client at her work had developed symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus. Even though she was asymptomatic, she decided to get tested for peace of mind.
But unlike most Albertans who get tested for COVID-19, Excell’s test result wasn’t a simple positive or negative.
“I got a phone call a couple days later from a person, and I thought, ‘Am I positive?’ But she just said I was ‘indeterminate,’ which I didn’t even know was a possibility,” Excell said.
She was told that since she was asymptomatic, she didn’t need to self-isolate, but that she could go get tested again.
But on Saturday, Excell received a second call, this time from the Alberta Health Services Infectious Disease Clinic, giving her the indeterminate diagnosis once more and telling her that getting retested was now a strong recommendation.
Alberta pilots ‘pool testing’ to expand COVID-19 testing capacity
Pooled tests mix biological samples from several people before testing. If the combined sample tests negative for the novel coronavirus, lab officials consider all samples involved to be negative. If the combined sample tests positive, however, all individual samples are tested alone to determine which sample or samples are positive.
“Pooling samples is an effective approach for performing a large number of tests while using fewer laboratory supplies and staff,” said AHS spokesperson James Wood in a statement.
“If successful, (AHS) will look to expand this practice over the coming weeks to increase capacity.”
Parents anxious over back-to-school decisions with little information
Cuillerier is outraged over an Aug. 21 deadline set by the Calgary Catholic School District asking parents to either register for online-only schooling or in-person classes.
Parents at the Calgary Board of Education are facing the same decision, with a deadline of Aug. 24. Once parents choose, they cannot change their mind until the new year.
But many schools won’t be able to tell parents how large their children’s class sizes will be until the online registration process is complete.
“So many parents I have spoken to are feeling really frustrated at the lack of information,” Cuillerier added.
“It is in no way realistic to ask parents to decide something this important when they have no idea what the plans are for their school.”
COVID in kids: Infections rise in the U.S. as schools reopen
School closures and other public health measures may have contributed to initially low rates of coronavirus infections in children early in the pandemic, according to the CDC.
“This may explain the low incidence in children compared with adults,” the agency said in its guidance. “Comparing trends in pediatric infections before and after the return to in-person school and other activities may provide additional understanding about infections in children.”
Children between 5 and 17 years old also test positive for the coronavirus at higher rates than any other age group, according to CDC data, with positivity rates exceeding 10 percent in public and private lab tests.
Quebecers are concerned about students’ success at school, survey suggests
MONTREAL — Two-thirds of Quebecers surveyed are concerned about the educational success of their children during the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey for a major teachers’ union suggests.
Ninety per cent of respondents also believe that students with learning difficulties will be most penalized by the pandemic, with 92 per cent believing more resources should be dedicated to helping these students.
But there’s also concerns for students in general: 66 per cent were “very or somewhat worried” about the impact of the pandemic on student success, compared to five per cent who said they were not worried at all.
Italy closes nightclubs as coronavirus cases rise among young
ROME — Italy is to shut discos and clubs and make it compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in some areas during the night-time in the first reimposition of restrictions as cases of coronavirus pick up across the country, especially among younger people.
New cases in the past week in Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, were more than double those registered three weeks ago and the median age of people contracting the virus has dropped below 40, data showed.
The new rules will start on Monday – two days after an Italian holiday when many young Italians go out dancing – and will run until early September.
French new COVID-19 cases above 3,000 for second day
PARIS — The French Health Ministry on Sunday reported 3,015 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the second day in a row in which new cases have surpassed the 3,000 mark.
However, the daily count was below the 3,310 cases reported on Saturday, when a new post-lockdown high was reached, the ministry’s data showed.
Bowness McDonald’s closed after positive COVID-19 test
A positive COVID-19 test in a staff member means the McDonald’s restaurant at 8235 Bowridge Crescent N.W. will temporarily close for a third-party sanitation.
The employee reported testing positive Saturday. They had last worked a shift in the Bowness restaurant Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who may have been in the restaurant during that time are advised to contact Alberta Health Services for further instruction.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to immediately shut down the restaurant for a thorough cleaning and sanitization by a certified third party,” McDonald’s Canada said in a release.
Alberta had hundreds of ‘excess’ deaths as COVID-19 struck province: Stats Canada
Alberta’s death toll from COVID-19 through the first three months of the pandemic may be higher than previously thought.
From the end of February to the end of May 2020, there were 639 more deaths in the province than the highest number recorded in Alberta in the past five years, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
However, provincial public health authorities only reported 146 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the same timespan, about a quarter of the entire excess mortalities.
Nearly half of Brazilians say Bolsonaro not to blame for coronavirus death toll, poll says
Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears “no responsibility at all” for the country’s more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s second highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll.
The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do.
France plans masks at work as daily COVID-19 cases surpass 3,000
France is to propose that masks be worn in shared workspaces as the country grapples with a rebound in coronavirus cases that rose again in the past 24 hours to over 3,000.
The health ministry reported 3,310 new coronavirus infections, marking a post-lockdown high for the fourth day in a row.
The number of clusters being investigated increased by 17 to 252, it said in a website update.
Ireland says fresh COVID-19 spike ‘deeply concerning’
reland reported 200 new COVID-19 cases arising from multiple clusters across the country on Saturday, the highest daily amount since the beginning of May that the country’s chief medical officer described as “deeply concerning.”
Ireland has reopened its economy at a slower pace than most European Union countries but that did not stop a rise in cases over the last two weeks that led to the first localized reimposition of some restrictions last week.
COVID-19 outbreak declared at new Cargill plant as Alberta reports 84 new cases province-wide
Alberta Health reported a new COVID-19 outbreak at a Cargill meat-processing plant in Calgary Friday, the company’s second Alberta outbreak after more than 1,500 cases of the novel coronavirus and three deaths were linked to Cargill’s High River plant.
There are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the newly reported outbreak at Cargill Case Ready, a meat-processing plant in northeast Calgary that takes meat product from the High River plant and packages it for sale in grocery stores.
Banff council extends pedestrianization project and mask bylaw
At a special council meeting Friday afternoon, Banff town council voted to extend the Banff Avenue pedestrianization project to Sept. 14, three days later than the original end date.
Council also voted to extend the mandatory mask bylaw to the Banff Avenue-adjacent sidewalks of Bear Street.
COVID-19 infecting marriages, driving up divorce numbers, say family mediators
COVID-19 is proving a love bug with a nasty bite, say those who oversee couples seeking divorces in Calgary.
Since the global pandemic kicked in last March, family lawyers and divorce facilitators say crumbling marriages have become more commonplace.
Fledglings Educare Centre, Cargill Case Ready Meats added to list of outbreaks
There are 5 cases linked to Cargill Case Ready Meats in #YYC. Widespread testing is underway. AHS and OHS have visited the plant and are making sure necessary measures are in place to reduce transmission and protect workers. (3/4)
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) August 14, 2020
84 new cases, one additional death
— Jason Herring (@jasonfherring) August 14, 2020
Calgary school boards say masks mandatory for all students
Calgary’s public and Catholic school districts are requiring K-12 students to wear masks when returning to school this September, expanding upon provincial guidance that mandates only Grades 4-12.
The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) made the announcement Friday after hearing concerns from parents about the ability for students to practice physical distancing, said Christopher Usih, CBE chief superintendent of schools.
Similarly, the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) has made the decision to mandate mask usage in all grades.
Prohibida la reproducción parcial o total. Todos los derechos reservados de Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., del Autor y/o Propietario original de la publicación. El contenido del presente artículo y/o cualquier otro artículo, texto, boletín, noticia y/o contenido digital, entre otros, ya sea propio o de tercero alguno, publicado en nuestra página de internet u otros medios digitales, no constituye una consulta particular y por lo tanto Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., sus colaboradores, socios, directivos y su autor, no asumen responsabilidad alguna de la interpretación o aplicación que el lector o destinatario le pueda dar.