Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, Nov. 14

Calgary·THE LATEST

Alberta’s ICU capacity is at 78 per cent. Without additional surge spaces, provincial ICU capacity would be at 124 per cent.

There are currently 215 patients in ICU in Alberta, about half are COVID positive

Health-care workers tend to an ICU COVID-19 patient at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary in this file photo from Nov. 14, 2020. On Saturday Alberta Health Services said there are 215 patients in ICU, about half of whom are COVID positive. (Leah Hennel/Alberta Health Services)

The latest COVID-19 numbers: 

  • Alberta Health Services updated its ICU capacity numbers Saturday. 
  • AHS says there are 275 general adult ICU beds open in Alberta, including 102 additional spaces above the baseline of 173 general adult ICU beds.
  • There are currently 215 patients in ICU, about half of whom are COVID positive, AHS said. 
  • Provincial ICU capacity, with additional surge beds, is at 78 per cent. Without additional surge spaces, provincial ICU capacity would be at 124 per cent.
  • The province said Friday that COVID-19 immunization records without a QR code, including ones from vaccine providers and those saved from MyHealth Records, will no longer be accepted as proof of vaccination. This will take effect Monday. 
  • The government announced Friday that 5,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in the province.
  • Albertans who are 18 and older and interested in receiving the single-dose, viral vector vaccine can book an appointment through 811.
  • Due to a limited supply, the Janssen vaccine will only be administered at Alberta Health Services clinics in select locations across the province, the province said in a news release.
  • The Alberta government updated COVID-19 numbers for Thursday and Friday, after no new numbers were reported during the statutory holiday for Remembrance Day.
  • Alberta reported 371 new COVID cases out of 8,843 tests on Friday.
  • Alberta reported 470 new COVID cases out of 11,584 tests as of Thursday. 
  • 3,171 Albertans have died since the pandemic began, with the province reporting seven new deaths (the combined total of Thursday’s and Friday’s numbers.) 
  • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 5,745.
  • 320,114 Albertans are considered to have recovered.
  • As of Friday, there are 554 people in hospital with COVID-19. Of these, 110 are in ICUs.
  • There are active alerts or outbreaks in 221 schools across the province.
  • Alberta is reporting an R-value below 1. The R-value is the average number of COVID-19 infections transmitted by each diagnosed case.
  • An R-value below 1 means transmission is no longer growing. Provincewide, the R-value for Oct. 25-31 was 0.87, with a confidence interval between 0.84 and 0.90.
  • In response to falling COVID-19 numbers across the province, live media updates now will be held only once a week on Tuesdays. Daily numbers will continue to be posted online, said the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

The latest on vaccines:

  • 69.5 per cent of the province’s total population — or 81.8 per cent of eligible Albertans — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Out of the province’s total population, 74.6 per cent have received at least one dose, or 87.7 per cent of those eligible.
  • That compares with 78.1 per cent of the total population Canada-wide that have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 74.5 per cent of the total population are fully vaccinated, according to the CBC’s vaccine tracker. Among those eligible, 89.2 per cent have had one dose and 85.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
  • Beginning on Monday, Nov. 15, anyone wanting to enter a business taking part in the Alberta Restrictions Exemption Program must present proof of vaccination that includes a QR code. Exceptions include First Nations and military vaccination records. 
  • As of Nov. 8, more Albertans are eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents aged 70 and older, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents 18 years and up are able to access the booster shots.
  • Third doses will be available for front-line health-care workers as well. The doses need to be booked for a time that’s at least six months after the second dose. 
  • As of Oct. 25, Albertans aged 12 and older need to provide proof of full vaccination — two COVID-19 vaccine doses — to access restaurants, movies, sporting events and other businesses provincewide operating under the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program.
  • Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine records with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.
  • The Alberta government has released an app to scan and verify QR code vaccine records. The AB COVID Records Verifier app is available to download on Apple and Android devices. 
  • People who are not fully vaccinated can still opt to provide a privately-paid negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours or valid proof of a medical exemption.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government imposed the voluntary vaccine passport system that took effect Sept. 20 to combat the disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19.
  • Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part, will have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing.
  • A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government’s website
  • The City of Calgary’s mandatory vaccination policy came into force on Nov. 1. It’s requiring all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of whether they work in the office, at home or elsewhere. On Tuesday, it said 85 per cent of its staff are fully vaccinated. That’s nearly 11,000 employees.
  • The city says employees who are not fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 are required to take part in a rapid testing program and a mandatory education program about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • As of Dec. 1, those who are not vaccinated will be required to continue to participate in the rapid testing program on their own time and at their own expense.
  • Alberta public sector workers will soon be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The policy, approved by the province’s COVID-19 cabinet committee will affect 25,500 provincial employees who must all submit proof of full vaccination by Nov. 30.
  • AHS is extending the deadline for employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers to comply with its mandatory immunization policy until Nov. 30.

The latest on surgeries, hospitals, mask bylaws and more: ​​​​​​

  • Support people who are symptomatic for, or diagnosed with, COVID-19 will no longer be able to accompany maternity patients into hospitals.
  • Alberta Health had previously allowed designated support people who were COVID-19 positive or symptomatic into hospitals with maternity patients. They rescinded the order after determining with Alberta Health Services that health-care facilities couldn’t provide the additional protections required.
  • AHS has begun administering a new monoclonal antibody treatment that was recently approved by Health Canada, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Nov. 9.
  • Sotrovimab is a new drug developed for treating patients with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms.
  • It is the first treatment to be offered to outpatients in Alberta.
  • Edmonton’s mask mandate will stay in place with no thresholds for repeal or expiry date, after council voted Nov. 9 to revise the current bylaw. The bylaw was on the verge of expiring as it came close to hitting a trigger of having 10 consecutive days of fewer than 100 active cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people.
  • Calgary’s city council has voted to change the threshold for repealing Calgary’s mask bylaw. In September, council voted to repeal the bylaw either effective Dec. 31 or when Calgary’s COVID case counts dropped below 100 per 100,000 population for 10 consecutive days. Instead, council voted Nov. 1 to change the threshold to 28 days.  
  • The number of surgeries delayed in Alberta by the fourth wave of the pandemic had reached 15,000 by Nov. 4 — nearly double what it was a month ago — as the province cancelled procedures and reallocated resources to COVID-19 patients, Health Minister Jason Copping said.
  • Copping also said on Nov. 4 that the province “hasn’t got a clear timeline at this point in time” when delayed surgeries will resume. The minister said surgeries are still being delayed every day, despite dropping case numbers.
  • The regulator of Alberta’s doctors said on Nov. 4 it is performing unannounced inspections at medical clinics in a bid to crack down on doctors who spread COVID-19 misinformation or prescribe unproven remedies for the disease.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) said as of Nov. 4, it had conducted five inspections related to COVID-19 complaints in three weeks.
  • Hinshaw announced new measures for continuing care facilities that started Oct. 25. All visitors will be required to wear a mask in all indoor areas of the building, including in residents’ rooms. All residents must also quarantine after returning from a hospital stay of 24 hours or more until they get a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • The province announced new measures to protect children and youth from COVID-19 on Oct. 5. Contact tracing in schools will be phased in, outbreaks will be declared in schools, and rapid-test kits will be made available for parents to test younger children.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Friday:

  • Edmonton zone: 1,246.
  • Calgary zone: 1,734.
  • North zone: 1,240.
  • Central zone: 1,008.
  • South zone: 508.
  • Unknown: 9.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press, CBC Edmonton

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