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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Jan. 30

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

Author of the article:

Brodie Thomas

Publishing date:

Jan 30, 2021  •  January 30, 2021  •  8 minute read  •  Join the conversation Karen Gott, assistant general manager of Trolley 5 Restaurant and Brewery in Calgary, raises a glass Friday after the province announced it will allow in-person dining on Feb. 8, 2021. Photo by Brendan Miller/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

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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 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.

Gym and restaurants owners have mixed reactions on province’s reopening plans

Mike Shupenia owner of Side Street Pub & Grill in Kensington said he’s worried about bad publicity if an outbreak is somehow linked back to his establishment, even as they follow all protocols. Mike Shupenia owner of Side Street Pub & Grill in Kensington said he’s worried about bad publicity if an outbreak is somehow linked back to his establishment, even as they follow all protocols. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Calgary business owners have mixed reactions to Alberta’s reopening plan with some calling it a “punch in the face” and others a “happy surprise.”

Premier Jason Kenney announced on Friday that Alberta would be easing some restrictions come Feb. 8, considering hospitalizations had dipped below 600.

Among them, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be allowed to offer dine-in service and gyms may reopen for one-on-one, scheduled training with appropriate safety measures in place.

Mike Shupenia, owner of Side Street Pub in Kensington, said many bars and restaurants are “close to the brink” and the rules that govern the reopening of eateries will “handicap” many establishments.

Read more.

Hockey Calgary ‘disappointed’ by continued restrictions

FILE – Members of the Atom 1 South Bow Valley Black team are seen cheering before they hit the ice at the Lake Bonavista arena during the 2019/2020 Esso Minor Hockey Week hosted by Hockey Calgary. FILE – Members of the Atom 1 South Bow Valley Black team are seen cheering before they hit the ice at the Lake Bonavista arena during the 2019/2020 Esso Minor Hockey Week hosted by Hockey Calgary. Photo by Brendan Miller /Postmedia

A new survey released by Hockey Calgary shows more than three-quarters of families want to get back on the ice, but a significant number say they think it’s best to cancel the season now.

The news comes amid a new setback for organized youth sports in Alberta, as the easing of some public-health measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 excludes all activities outside of school settings.

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The anonymous survey, answered by about 83 per cent of families involved in a Hockey Calgary program, shows the majority of parents want their kids to play the sport this winter in some capacity, while 27 per cent would rather see the season cancelled.

Read more.

Alberta logs 383 more COVID-19 cases as rural regions lead province in active case rates

Calgarians wear masks while walking under the arches of the downtown Hudson’s Bay Company store on a grey day in the city, Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Calgarians wear masks while walking under the arches of the downtown Hudson’s Bay Company store on a grey day in the city, Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia

Another 383 Albertans have tested positive for COVID-19, the province announced Saturday, as rural regions overtake urban centres in active case rates.

The cases come from 10,377 tests, representing a 3.7 per cent positivity rate. It’s the second-lowest positivity rate logged in Alberta since Oct. 24, as the province’s second wave began ramping up.

An additional 11 deaths from the novel coronavirus were also reported, including two within the Alberta Health Services Calgary zone. To date, 1,631 Albertans have died from the virus, including 469 in the month of January alone.

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The province reported 583 people in hospital, including 103 in ICU. Active cases dropped in all health zones across the province.

Don’t like Canada’s new mandatory quarantine? It’s part of why New Zealand is now back to normal

Remember crowds? This one enjoys a SIX60 performance last week in Hastings, New Zealand, which has reported just 25 COVID-19 deaths. Remember crowds? This one enjoys a SIX60 performance last week in Hastings, New Zealand, which has reported just 25 COVID-19 deaths. Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

On Friday the Government of Canada announced a new program prescribing mandatory supervised hotel quarantines for all travellers entering the country. It’s one of the strictest measures yet imposed in the fight against COVID-19, but it’s a measure with good precedent: New Zealand, one of the most enthusiastic adopters of mandatory hotel quarantines, has been ranked the best performing county in an index of almost 100 countries based on their containment of the coronavirus.

As we here in Canada undertake the grim task of reviewing our ICU triage protocols, New Zealanders are packing into stadiums without masks and celebrating New Year’s Eve in dense crowds just like the old days. COVID-19 has killed 18,000 Canadians and counting, while New Zealand is at 25 deaths.

The Pacific Island nation had a breach this week, with a couple of positive cases of the South African COVID variant, all linked to the same quarantine facility in Auckland. While New Zealand has been lucky, it largely has itself to credit for its success.

Read more.

Germany is already ordering vaccines for 2022, minister says

A medical worker prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a nursing home in Burgbernheim, Germany, Dec. 28, 2020. A medical worker prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a nursing home in Burgbernheim, Germany, Dec. 28, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Germany is ordering vaccines for 2022 in case regular or booster doses are needed to keep the population immune against variants of COVID-19, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Saturday, amid growing frustration in Europe at the slow pace of vaccination.

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Speaking at an online town hall of healthcare workers, Spahn defended the progress made on procuring and administering vaccines, saying 2.3 million of Germany’s 83 million people had already received a dose.

European governments have faced criticism over supply and production bottlenecks as vaccine makers AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna have all announced cuts to delivery volumes just as they were expected to ramp up production.

Read more.

Portugal close to running out of ICU beds for COVID patients

A COVID-19 patient transferred from Lisbon arrives at Nelio Mendonca Hospital in Funchal, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Funchal, on the island of Madeira, Portugal, January 29, 2021. A COVID-19 patient transferred from Lisbon arrives at Nelio Mendonca Hospital in Funchal, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Funchal, on the island of Madeira, Portugal, January 29, 2021. Photo by DUARTE SA /REUTERS

Portugal said on Saturday it only had seven vacant beds left in intensive care units (ICUs) set up for COVID-19 cases on its mainland, as a surge in infections prompted the authorities to send some critical patients to Portuguese islands.

Health Ministry data showed that, out of 850 ICU beds allocated to COVID-19 cases on its mainland, a record 843 beds were now occupied. The nation of 10 million people has an additional 420 ICU beds for those with other ailments.

The ministry said the number of daily infections was 12,435, dipping from Thursday’s record, while there were 293 deaths.

Read more.

Friday

Braid: Kenney betting carrot-and-stick plan will beat back COVID-19 and allow reopenings

Premier Jason Kenney provided, from Calgary on Friday, January 29, 2021, an update on COVID-19. Additional health measures will be eased for restaurants, indoor fitness and some children’s activities, effective Feb. 8. Premier Jason Kenney provided, from Calgary on Friday, January 29, 2021, an update on COVID-19. Additional health measures will be eased for restaurants, indoor fitness and some children’s activities, effective Feb. 8. Photo by Photo courtesy of the Alberta government

Columnist Don Braid writes:

The Alberta government and Dr. Deena Hinshaw have come up with an ingenious formula for the gradual reopening of public activities.

COVID-19 may or may not pay attention. But this plan is certainly worth a try.

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Current measures impose a heavy toll on finances, businesses, jobs and mental health. Resentment is growing and some business people are starting to defy the rules.

Alberta often feels like a pressure cooker ready to pop.

Premier Jason Kenney and his cabinet had to bring some sense of hope and momentum.

Read more.

Friday

Alberta will ease some restrictions on gyms, restaurants and kids’ sports Feb. 8

Premier Jason Kenney announced the easing of some restrictions Friday. Premier Jason Kenney announced the easing of some restrictions Friday. Photo by Alberta government

Alberta will begin lifting some public-health measures meant to combat the spread of COVID-19 starting Monday, Feb. 8, Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday.

Starting on that day, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be allowed to reopen for some dine-in options. Gyms may reopen, and some indoor and outdoor children’s sports and performance may resume.

It’s the first phase in a plan unveiled by Kenney Friday, detailing plans for future reopening even as officials sound the alarm on the risk of more-contagious COVID-19 variants and a worsening shortage of vaccine supply.

Read more.

Friday

Timeline: How the province plans to phase out restrictions

The South Health Campus in Calgary on Nov. 12. The South Health Campus in Calgary on Nov. 12. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney revealed the province’s plan to ease restrictions in a stepped process based on hospitalizations on Friday afternoon. At least 21 days would have to pass between each step.

  • Step 1, 600 hospitalizations: Some restrictions eased on indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance (school-related), restaurants and pubs and indoor fitness. These restrictions will be eased starting on Feb. 8
  • Step 2, 450 hospitalizations: Some restrictions eased on retail and community halls, hotels, banquet halls and conference centres
  • Step 3, 300 hospitalizations: Some restrictions eased on places of worship; adult team sports; indoor social gatherings; indoor seated events including movie theatres and auditoriums; casinos, racing centres and bingo halls; and libraries museums, art galleries, zoos and interpretive centres
  • Step 4, 150 hospitalizations: Some restrictions eased on performance activities (singing and dancing); tradeshows, conferences and exhibiting events; indoor and outdoor festivals; day camps and overnight camps; amusement parks and outdoor sporting events; wedding ceremonies and receptions and funeral receptions; indoor entertainment and play centres, indoor concerts and sporting events; and workplaces

They’ll pay “constant attention” to leading indicators like r-value, positivity rate, case numbers etc. to tell them whether to “stop, regroup or tighten restrictions.” #COVID19AB

— Alanna Smith (@alanna_smithh) January 29, 2021

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“With the new variants that are circulating around the world and are far more contagious, we must be more cautious, in some respects, than we have been before,” says Kenney. #COVID19AB

— Alanna Smith (@alanna_smithh) January 29, 2021

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Kenney adds “we’re taking a very gradual, step-by-step, approach here.” Says they will monitor “very closely” but they must balance people’s mental health and the economy with the dangers of the virus. #COVID19AB

— Alanna Smith (@alanna_smithh) January 29, 2021

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Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided the latest update on COVID-19 in the province.

  • 543 new cases on 11,591 tests; 4.5% positivity rate
  • 594 in hospital; 110 in ICUs
  • 14 additional deaths; 1,620 deaths
  • 7,805 active cases; 113,939 recovered
  • Active alerts or outbreaks in 291 schools; 607 cases in these schools
  • 12 more cases of variant COVID-19; 31 cases total of U.K. variant; 6 cases total of South Africa variant
  • All but three are linked to travel, but those three non-travel-related cases are in the same household

Health Minister Tyler Shandro provided an update on the progress of vaccines in Alberta.

  • Over 104,000 vaccines administered, 14,000 fully immunized
  • Moderna shipment to Alberta cut from 24,600 doses to 18,800 doses next week

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Friday

Airlines agree to ‘unprecedented’ travel restrictions, cutting flights to Mexico, Caribbean

Masked travellers arrive at the International terminal in YYC (Calgary International Airport) on Friday, January 29, 2021. Masked travellers arrive at the International terminal in YYC (Calgary International Airport) on Friday, January 29, 2021. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

New travel restrictions imposed by the federal government on Friday — including the temporary cancellation of all sun destination flights from Canada — will bring travel demand to a grinding halt as never before seen in this country, experts say.

“It’s not a knockout punch, but it’s a standing eight count for us for sure, for the next three months,” said Ken Stewart, owner of Calgary travel agency Crowfoot Travel Solutions. “This is going to affect a lot of people.”

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