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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for April 22

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Follow this page for updates and breaking news on coronavirus throughout the day

Author of the article:

Newsroom Staff

Publishing date:

Apr 22, 2021  •  16 minutes ago  •  12 minute read  •  Join the conversation People line up for vaccines outside the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

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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

  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw will deliver a live COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m.
  • All walk-in spots at the Telus Convention Centre vaccine clinic were filled by 11 a.m.
  • Albertans are now guaranteed paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The province reported 1,699 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday with a positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. Limited data was provided due to a technical issue.
  • Alberta has shifted some doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine originally intended for local pharmacies to rapid-flow clinics, causing some appointments to be cancelled.
  • Amid mounting pressures on critical care in hospitals and concerns about new variants, COVID-19 is striking a growing number of younger people, often with deadly results.
  • Alberta-based pharmaceutical companies with COVID-19 vaccines in the works are urging the provincial government to move quickly to support the development of a domestic vaccine industry.
  • Alberta has postponed the opening of an on-site vaccination clinic meant to offer workers at the Cargill meat-packing plant in High River their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Walk-in appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine at the AHS Telus Convention Centre vaccination site filled up by mid morning for the second day in a row.
  • The CFL is delaying the start of its 2021 season, but still has plans to host games this fall.
  • COVID-19 battered city operations in 2020, but Calgary closed the year with a $98-million surplus — money that will go back into pandemic relief this year.

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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.  Have you undergone a travel-related quarantine? Have you received your vaccine, and if so did you feel any side effects? Have you changed your life for the better because of the pandemic? 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.

Survey of Canadian’s mental health finds people at new lows

A man takes part in a video conference as he works from home. A man takes part in a video conference as he works from home. Photo by Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images files

A survey by Morneau Shepell has found that prolonged pandemic-related isolation continues to take its toll on Canadians’ mental health.

The monthly Mental Health Index reached a new low, with an 11.2 point drop from the pre-2020 benchmark of 75.

The survey found that managers within companies are experiencing greater levels of stress than non-managers. At the same time, 65 per cent of employees want the flexibility to work from home after the pandemic ends.

Although the idea of working from home remains popular, 26 per cent of employees say they don’t expect their employer will support remote work post-pandemic.

Hinshaw to speak at 3:30 p.m.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided, from Edmonton on Monday, February 1, 2021, an update on COVID-19. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided, from Edmonton on Monday, February 1, 2021, an update on COVID-19. Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw will speak with reporters at her usual time of 3:30 p.m.

Watch this page for a livestream of the press conference.

‘We got it wrong,’ tearful Ford announces; Ontario reports 3,683 new cases

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Photo by Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/File

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered a tearful apology on Thursday for the harsh restrictions his government imposed a week ago before it made an about-face turn in the face of widespread opposition.

“We got it wrong,” he said. “We made a mistake.”

The premier said the government moved too quickly in limiting residents’ mobility.

“The buck stops with me,” he added. “I know that many people continue to be unhappy right now, and I understand and I accept the responsibility for that.”

Read more.

No more walk-in spots available today at Telus Convention Centre

For the third day in a row, walk-in spots for the AstraZeneca vaccine at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary have filled before noon. AHS is encouraging people to make appointments.

The Telus Convention Centre walk-in vaccination site in Calgary is at capacity and is no longer accepting walk-ins today. We encourage people to book an appointment through the AHS online booking tool: https://t.co/E59y9DUsDW or at their local pharmacy.

— Alberta Health Services (@AHS_media) April 22, 2021

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EU starts legal case against AstraZeneca over vaccine delays, says Ireland

This file photo shows a vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. This file photo shows a vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Paris on March 11, 2021. Photo by AFP via GETTY IMAGES /Toronto Sun

The European Commission has initiated a legal case against AstraZeneca over its “complete failure” to meet delivery and contractual agreements for its vaccine, Ireland’s Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said on Thursday.

“With regard to AstraZeneca, a legal case has been initiated by the (European) Commission and earlier this week I have joined Ireland as one of the parties to that legal case, specifically around AstraZeneca’s complete failure to meet its delivery and contractual agreements for April, May and June,” he told parliament.

– Reuters

WHL Hitmen cleared of COVID concerns to return to action

The Calgary Hitmen’s Riley Fiddler-Schultz fends off the Medicine Hat Tigers’ Rhett Parsons at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation on Saturday, April 3, 2021. The Calgary Hitmen’s Riley Fiddler-Schultz fends off the Medicine Hat Tigers’ Rhett Parsons at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

The Calgary Hitmen have got the green light to get back into game-play.

Two weeks after a case of COVID-19 on the team shut down activities, the Western Hockey League franchise is ready to rejoin the schedule — and it will do so Friday afternoon against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex.

The Hitmen shut down activities on April 8 after they received one positive test for COVID-19 within the team cohort. They completed their 14-day isolation period, and after further testing for coronavirus — which yielded no positive results — they were given clearance by health officials.

Read more.

Wednesday

Hundreds line up for AstraZeneca in Calgary as Alberta clocks almost 1,700 new cases of COVID-19

People line up for vaccinations at the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary on Wednesday. People line up for vaccinations at the Telus Convention Centre in downtown Calgary on Wednesday. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Calgary’s large-scale immunization clinic reached capacity for the second day in a row as hundreds lined up to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine by walk-in or appointment.

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Alberta Health Services (AHS) said they were no longer accepting walk-in clients at the downtown site, located in the TELUS Convention Centre, just hours after the doors opened on Wednesday. The surge in AstraZeneca vaccine uptake came after Alberta expanded eligibility from people aged 55 and over to 40-plus.

The province also reported 1,699 new cases Wednesday, including 1,332 variants of concern. The active case count now sits at 18,873 — about 59 per cent of which are COVID-19 variants.

Read more.

In total, 988,398 Albertans have received at least one shot of #COVID19AB vaccine.

That’s 22.4% of Albertans, and 27.5% of Albertans age 16 and over.

Alberta’s seven-day average for daily shots administered is 32,686.

*Reposted again to correct numbers, sorry.*#yyc #yeg pic.twitter.com/ffYdrnqS2P

— Jason Herring (@jasonfherring) April 21, 2021

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Wednesday

Paid leave for COVID-19 vaccines now the law in Alberta

Alberta workers have been given up to three hours paid leave to get vaccinated against COVID-19, one day after the idea was suggested by the opposition in the legislature.

In a rare move, MLAs sped up the approval process by waiving many of the bureaucratic amendments that apply to tabling other pieces of legislation. Within slightly more than 30 minutes the bill had passed through all three required readings Wednesday night.

Amendments to the employment standards code now provide a COVID-19 vaccine leave and make it illegal for an employer to fire or discipline an employee who takes time off to be vaccinated.

Read more.

Wednesday

Calgary business owner who made PPE is now in ICU with COVID-19

Adrian Bussoli, president and co-owner of Alberta Garment Manufacturing, has been admitted to the ICU after testing positive for COVID-19. Adrian Bussoli, president and co-owner of Alberta Garment Manufacturing, has been admitted to the ICU after testing positive for COVID-19. Photo by Courtesy of Curtis Round

April 14 was supposed to be the day Adrian Bussoli, 68, received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, it was the day he took a test for the virus.

By the next day, the Calgary small business owner and active volunteer was in the ICU in a medically induced coma and breathing on a ventilator.

In the past year Bussoli’s company, Alberta Garment Manufacturing, had pivoted from oil and gas to manufacturing masks and gowns for private business and the military.

“He’s been a builder,” said friend Martin Buting. “He’s one of those guys with a small business who really gave back to society.”

Read more.

Wednesday

B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s solicitor general. Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s solicitor general. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

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British Columbia’s solicitor general says the government will release details of what is considered essential travel this week as the province looks at using roadblocks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth described the checkpoints as a type of “counterattack,” often used to find drunk drivers, but this time meant to discourage recreational travel outside of a person’s health authority.

A “full and comprehensive” list on what is considered essential travel will be released laster this week, Farnworth said at a news conference Wednesday.

His comments come as the National Police Federation released a statement saying it has “grave concerns” about police taking part in enforcing a COVID-19 ban on non-essential travel.

Read more.

Wednesday

Ontario seeing growing numbers of pregnant women critically ill with COVID-19

A file photo of Dr. Mark Walker, an Ottawa obstetrician and researcher. A file photo of Dr. Mark Walker, an Ottawa obstetrician and researcher. Photo by Chris Roussakis /Postmedia

Ottawa high-risk obstetrician and researcher Dr. Mark Walker admits he is terrified by the number of pregnant women ending up in intensive care units across the province with COVID-19 — including in Ottawa.

“There have never been this many pregnant women in ICU in the history of our country, or our province. This is unprecedented.”

In Ottawa, the number was less than six (Walker cannot be more specific for privacy reasons) as of earlier this week, but in some intensive care units in Toronto, pregnant women now represent half, or more, of the critically ill COVID-19 patients, a large percentage of them on ventilators. The situation has reached critical levels in recent weeks.

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The women Walker is seeing in intensive care are the sickest pregnant women he has ever treated during his 20-year career as an obstetrician, he says.

“It is heartbreaking and terrifying,” he said. “These are young, otherwise healthy women.”

Read more.

Wednesday

ICU pressures mount in Ontario as COVID fells younger people

Residents line up for a special “hot spot” vaccination clinic at Downsview Arena in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Residents line up for a special “hot spot” vaccination clinic at Downsview Arena in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Amid mounting pressures on critical care in hospitals and concerns about new variants, COVID-19 is striking a growing number of younger people, often with deadly results.

A recent surge in hospital and ICU admissions has been particularly acute in Ontario, where experts have warned the system was fast reaching a breaking point. One ICU doctor in Toronto reported the rate of fatalities among younger Canadians had increased dramatically in recent months.

“Younger daycare workers, ride-share drivers, factory workers — and their families — are dying,” Dr. Michael Warner, with Michael Garron Hospital, tweeted.

Read more.

Wednesday

Alberta Health shifts some AstraZeneca doses away from local pharmacies to large vaccination sites

A pharmacist holds a vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. A pharmacist holds a vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

Alberta has shifted some doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine originally intended for local pharmacies to rapid flow clinics, causing some appointments to be cancelled.

On Tuesday, the province lowered the age requirement to get the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone 40 or older after uptake with an older age group was slow. Tens of thousands of Albertans booked timeslots and attended walk-in clinics. The uptake of people registering on the first day was more than the entire previous week.

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Postmedia heard from multiple Albertans on Wednesday who said their pharmacy appointments had been cancelled due to a lack of supply.

Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan said the department decided to redirect some AstraZeneca doses that were supposed to go to pharmacies to the rapid flow clinics to help vaccinate Albertans as quickly as possible.

Read more.

Wednesday

Alberta vaccine makers urge province to get going on domestic supply plan

Researchers at work in the Edmonton-based Entos lab. Researchers at work in the Edmonton-based Entos lab. Photo by Courtesy Entos

Alberta-based pharmaceutical companies with COVID-19 vaccines in the works are urging the provincial government to move quickly to support the development of a domestic vaccine industry.

The Alberta government — which put out a call for proposals in March for projects that would bolster long-term vaccine capacity in the province — has since received 17 submissions from companies both inside and outside Alberta, proposing to do everything from early-stage research and development to manufacturing and final production. All of the interested companies were asked to explain how they would support the health of Albertans during COVID-19 and any future variants, as well as how they would support the long-term growth of the pharmaceutical sector in Alberta and local job creation.

Though the government has not yet committed a dollar amount to the project, it has already contracted an outside agency to conduct a due diligence review of the proposals. The plan is to “move quickly” after that to choose specific proposals to fund.

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Read more.

Wednesday

Alberta student says she and others are dreading return to online learning

An empty classroom in Edmonton. An empty classroom in Edmonton. Photo by Postmedia Archives

A 17-year-old in Edmonton says she and many of her friends are dreading a return to online learning for the next two weeks because of COVID-19.

Amara Mogos says going back and forth between online learning and regular school has been draining for her and many of her classmates, but she understands the need to do it.

Mogos is one of thousands of junior high and high school students in the city who will return to online learning Thursday.

Read more.

Wednesday

Mass vaccination site for Cargill workers in High River postponed

The Cargill meat-packing plant in High River. The Cargill meat-packing plant in High River. Photo by Jim Wells/Postmedia

Alberta has postponed the opening of an on-site vaccination clinic meant to offer workers at the Cargill meat-packing plant in High River their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The mass vaccination clinic was scheduled to run Thursday to Saturday as part of Phase 2C of Alberta’s immunization strategy since the worksite has been a source of rapid transmission over the last year. Eighty per cent of the more than 2,000 employees at the plant had already signed the paperwork to get their shot before Cargill was informed about the postponement Tuesday evening.

Alberta Health said this is due to a delay in a shipment of the Moderna vaccine that the province was counting on for the clinic, which will open as soon as possible.

Read more.

Wednesday

Argentina COVID-19 deaths hit 60,000 in pandemic’s ‘worst moment’

A cemetery worker disinfects graves at the Flores cemetery, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday. A cemetery worker disinfects graves at the Flores cemetery, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday. Photo by REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Argentina is going through its “worst moment” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health minister said on Wednesday, as deaths from the virus hit 60,000 amid a sharp second wave that has forced the country to re-impose some lockdown measures.

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Health Minister Carla Vizzotti warned that the South American country’s healthcare system was at risk, especially in the metropolitan area around the capital Buenos Aires, which had forced the government to restrict movement and suspend indoor activities.

Read more.

Wednesday

‘They’re heroes’: How COVID-19 ‘vaccine hunters’ help Canadians find appointments

Two of the faces behind the online tools that are helping Canadians book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Daniel Charles (left) is with Vaccine Finder Toronto, while Josh Kalpin (right) is helping people track down open appointments through Vaccine Hunters Canada Two of the faces behind the online tools that are helping Canadians book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Daniel Charles (left) is with Vaccine Finder Toronto, while Josh Kalpin (right) is helping people track down open appointments through Vaccine Hunters Canada Photo by Daniel Charles and Josh Kalpin

He’s a software engineer by day and vaccine hunter by night.

Josh Kalpin has made it his goal to get COVID-19 vaccine shots into people’s arms through an increasingly popular Twitter account called “Vaccine Hunters Canada” — one of many tools being created to help people find available appointments and increase vaccine uptake across the country.

“It’s our duty as Canadians to help those that are most at-risk and vulnerable,” Kalpin said. “It’s something tangible every single Canadian can do and we’re just here to facilitate that.”

Read more.

Wednesday

Biden says he spoke to Trudeau about helping Canada get more vaccines

U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office in Washington. U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office in Washington. Photo by Reuters/Tom Brenner/File Photo

President Joe Biden says the United States plans to provide Canada with more help in procuring COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden says he spoke today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the subject. He says the White House is looking at what to do with vaccines that aren’t currently in use in the U.S. That’s likely a reference to the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, which has been approved for use by Health Canada but not by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and gave 2.5 million doses to Mexico.

Read more.

Also see: U.S. will soon hit 200 million goal on vaccine shots: official

Wednesday

Quebec confirms Canada’s first case of ‘double mutant’ variant from India

A health-care worker directs people at Montreal’s Olympic stadium, which has been transformed into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. A health-care worker directs people at Montreal’s Olympic stadium, which has been transformed into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

Quebec has identified its first case of the B.1.617 variant of COVID-19, which originated in India and is believed to be fuelling the pandemic surge in that country.

The case was identified in a patient in the Haute-Mauricie region of Quebec, north of Trois-Rivières, officials with Quebec’s public health laboratory confirmed Wednesday. It is believed to be the first case of this variant identified in Canada.

Read more.

Wednesday

CFL delays start of 2021 season to Aug. 5

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced Wednesday that the start of the 2021 season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced Wednesday that the start of the 2021 season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by The Canadian Press

The CFL has delayed the start to the 2021 season.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie made the announcement on Wednesday morning, ending weeks of speculation regarding if and when the 2021 season would start.

Ambrosie revealed in a media statement that a 14-game regular season is “targeted” to kick off on Aug. 5. The 2021 Grey Cup game, originally slated for Nov. 21 in Hamilton, has been moved to Dec. 12. Training camps are to open in mid-July.

Read more.

COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise in Alberta

Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary on Monday, April 5, 2021. Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary on Monday, April 5, 2021. Photo by Christopher Landry/Postmedia

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