COVID recall request expands mobile vaccination effort in Calgary

“We have seen cases skyrocket into an unprecedented trajectory over the past few weeks, driven by the Omicron variant.”

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The Calgary area is bearing the brunt of the fifth round of COVID-19 in Alberta, the city’s emergency management chief said Tuesday.

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CEMA chief Sue Henry told city council that even with limited testing capacity in a different way than at any other time in the pandemic, previous records for the number of COVID cases are “shattered “. Of the more than 58,000 known active cases of COVID in the province, nearly half of those infected are in the Alberta Health Services Calgary area.

Since only people in specific high-risk environments can access PCR testing for COVID, the actual number of infections is certainly much higher.

“We have seen cases skyrocket into an unprecedented trajectory over the past few weeks, driven by the Omicron variant,” Henry said.

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Wastewater testing data has yet to show signs of a peak in Calgary, she added. Hospitalizations due to COVID – a lagging indicator for measuring the effect of rising infections – are also starting to increase. The city is no longer under a local state of emergency due to the pandemic, but Henry said they were monitoring the situation closely.

“It’s time to stay the course with our collective response to the pandemic. “

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The city’s mobile vaccination vans, where Calgarians can get vaccinated against COVID, are also still operating throughout the city. The effort was supposed to end in 2021, but it was extended until at least February due to strong demand for the third doses. Vans do not have access to pediatric COVID vaccines, so children under 12 cannot access them.

More than 6,000 people have been immunized through the program and over 1,400 vaccines have been administered in the past week alone.

“As long as there is a demand for and a supply of the vaccine, we will continue to expand this program,” Henry said.

City councilors heard the update virtually Tuesday, reverting to tighter pandemic protocols that see most elected officials working from home, and only the mayor chairs the meeting in person.

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They unanimously approved changes to the city’s vaccine passport bylaw, which requires any eligible business – like restaurants and recreation centers – to ask customers for proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test.

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Calgary’s latest rule changes bring the city into closer alignment with the provincial restriction exemption program, Alberta’s vaccine passport initiative, outlining when children 12 and over must start showing proof of vaccination and stating that anyone under the age of 18 does not have to. show the accompanying ID.

Matt Zabloski of Calgary Community Standards noted that Calgary continues to differ from provincial rules, with no exemptions in the vaccination passport program for children playing youth sports. It has been a rule of the regulation since last September.

“Calgary Recreation Facilities have based their offerings on this requirement and have seen footfall increase as a result,” said Zabloski.

As of January 3, 36 tickets had been issued for violations of the vaccination passport regulations.

masmith@postmedia.com
Twitter: @meksmith

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