COVID-19: Province to provide daily update on Tuesday, pending new supply of Pfizer vaccine

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Alberta’s top doctor is expected to make a full COVID-19 update on Tuesday to share the latest data from Dec. 29-Jan. 2 as the public grapples with unknowns, including accuracy testing for ensure that schools and businesses are well staffed but safe.

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The province reported 2,775 new cases of COVID-19 on December 28 and recently estimated 4,000 new cases, a pandemic high, on December 30. Alberta also estimated a test positivity rate of 30% and 371 people hospitalized.

With the number of Omicron cases on the rise in Ontario, the Ontario government announced Monday that the school closures will last until at least January 17.

Last week, Alberta extended the winter vacation for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students until January 10.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in an update Thursday evening that she had heard concerns about the increase in cases of the Omicron variant and how it would affect schools. She said concerns had been raised about staffing issues for teachers, bus drivers, guards and more.

LaGrange said school officials will use the extended break to gather more information and prepare instructions for students next week. She said the extra time would allow schools to prepare for a successful start.

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She said 8.6 million rapid home tests will be distributed to schools across the province on Jan. 10, and 16.5 million medical-grade masks will be made available to staff and students.

The YMCA calls for the same supports provided to schools

With the government providing schools with access to masks and testing kits, the YMCA of Northern Alberta is asking for the same support and resources, he said in a press release Monday.

“It is just as important that child care staff have access to rapid tests and medical masks as teachers and school staff,” said Annalize Yuzda, vice president of child care at the YMCA of North America. ‘Alberta. “If our staff are sick or isolated, it affects our ability to provide care when our families need it. “

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The YMCA said having access to these resources will help them be able to provide quality care and allow families to continue working.

Isolation period halved for fully vaccinated Albertans

Starting Monday, isolation periods are cut in half for fully vaccinated Albertans – they will have to self-isolate for five days instead of 10, Health Minister Copping said on Friday.

The new isolation rules only apply to people with two or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine who have no symptoms – the rest must remain in isolation for a full 10 days.

Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said on Friday the change was based on evidence that vaccinated people shed the virus for a shorter period of time, making them less contagious.

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“The decision to shorten the isolation periods is based on the science which shows that full vaccination limits the duration of infectivity,” she said.

Copping said the change is in part a response to workforce challenges and that the new rules would apply to workplaces where disruption of service for 24 hours or more would be detrimental to the public.

Pfizer in shortage in the province

As the government encourages Albertans to roll up their sleeves for a recall, the province is currently facing a shortage of doses of Pfizer, Lisa Glover, deputy director of Alberta Health said in an email.

She said more Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive this month, but Albertans should make the vaccine available to them.

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“Currently there is a large amount of Moderna in Alberta. All vaccines available in Alberta are safe and effective, ”said Glover. “Albertans eligible for booster doses are encouraged to take the first mRNA vaccine available to them, rather than waiting for a preferred brand. “

Glover said pharmacies have been urged to only schedule appointments after they have confirmation of the amount of incoming vaccines to avoid having to cancel and reschedule appointments.

Opposition calls on government to release predictions of Omicron’s impact on hospitals

Ontario has released a two-week COVID forecast that shows hospitals will be overwhelmed over the next two weeks and Opposition Leader Rachel Notley is calling on the Government of Alberta to release its own forecast.

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“I call on Jason Kenney and the UCP to tell Albertans the truth about the threat to our hospitals and all who rely on them,” Notley said in a press release Monday.

Notley said Alberta Health Services maintains a daily two-week forecast for hospital admissions.

“Jason Kenney and the UCP know what the threat looks like to Alberta hospitals and they need to tell Albertans the truth,” she said.

Notley said COVID-19-related hospitalizations have resulted in tens of thousands of surgeries being canceled in the province. She said the province was starting the Omicron wave at a higher level of COVID hospitalization than most other provinces and that another wave is of concern to the healthcare system and those still awaiting surgery.

ktaniguchi@postmedia.com

twitter.com/kellentaniguchi

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