Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, Nov. 7

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As of Saturday, there were 234 patients in ICU, more than half of whom are COVID positive, Alberta Health Services says.

Alberta Health Services says it will be reducing available surge beds

Alberta Health Services said Saturday it will be reducing the number of available surge beds in order to redeploy staff to care for non-COVID patients, as the strain of COVID-19 on the province’s ICUs decreases. (Evan Mitsui/CBC News)

The latest on COVID-19 in Alberta:

  • Alberta Health Services said Saturday it will be reducing the number of available surge beds in order to redeploy staff to care for non-COVID patients, as the strain of COVID-19 on the province’s ICUs decreases.
  • AHS will maintain ICU capacity above daily demand up to a planned maximum of 380 beds, as long as staff and physician availability allows. They will readjust if another surge of cases occurs.
  • As of Saturday, there were 234 patients in ICU, more than half of whom are COVID positive, AHS says.
  • Provincially, ICU capacity (including additional surge beds) is at 79 per cent. Without the additional surge spaces, ICU capacity would be at 135 per cent.
  • As of Saturday, at least 13 restaurants in Alberta have been issued notices of closure or had their food permit suspended by Alberta Health Services for not screening patrons for vaccine status since the province’s restrictions exemption program was instituted.
  • In the Calgary zone, two restaurants have been issued a notice of closure, while one has had its food permit suspended. 
  • In the north zone, at least nine restaurants have faced repercussions from AHS. 
  • In the Edmonton zone, one business has had its food permit suspended. 
  • The south and central zones have not recorded any instances of non-compliance with the restrictions exemption program, according to the AHS website.
  • Alberta reported 466 new COVID cases and five deaths on Friday.
  • One of the five deaths was a man in his 20s. Alberta Health says the case involved pre-existing conditions. 
  • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 6,386.
  • Since the pandemic began, 3,142 Albertans have died of COVID.
  • 316,455 Albertans are considered to have recovered.​​​​
  • There are 141 patients in ICU, and 660 in hospital with COVID. 
  • 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.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday that more Albertans will now be eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, as immunity levels may decline sooner in some people. The full list of eligible Albertans is available on the province’s website. 
  • With pressure easing slightly on ICUs, AHS is reducing available surge beds to redeploy staff back to caring for non-COVID patients who need surgeries and procedures completed, an AHS spokesperson said Monday. 
  • 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. 
  • Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine records with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.

The latest on Alberta’s COVID-19 response: ​​​​​​

  • The number of surgeries delayed in Alberta by the fourth wave of the pandemic has reached 15,000 — nearly double what it was a month ago — as the province cancelled procedures and reallocated resources to COVID-19 patients, the health minister said Thursday. 
  • Jason Copping also said 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 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 it has conducted five inspections related to COVID-19 complaints since targeted enforcement began three weeks ago.
  • 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 Monday to change the threshold to 28 days.  
  • Nine Canadian Armed Forces nurses who’ve been helping care for COVID-19 patients at an Edmonton hospital are on their way back to their home units.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kenney’s government imposed the voluntary vaccine passport system that took effect Sept. 20 to combat the 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
  • On Sept. 22, Calgary city council approved a bylaw that brings in consistent application of the province’s vaccine passport program for many types of businesses in the city. 
  • 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.
  • Among Calgary Fire Department employees, 80 per cent are fully vaccinated and two per cent partially vaccinated.
  • The Calgary Police Service reports 85 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated and three per cent are partially vaccinated.
  • 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. 
  • A Calgary-based real estate company is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all new residents as well as its employees. Strategic Group, which rents out more than 1,500 suites in Calgary and Edmonton, announced the new policy on Thursday.
  • 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.
  • Politicians and staff at the Alberta Legislature will all be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time the sitting resumes on Oct. 25, government House leader Jason Nixon said Tuesday.
  • 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.

The latest on vaccines:

  • 68.8 per cent of the province’s total population have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 80.9 per cent of eligible Albertans.
  • Out of the province’s total population, 74.3 per cent have received at least one dose, or 87.3 per cent of those eligible.
  • Canada-wide, 77.8 per cent of the total population have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 74.1 per cent of the total population are fully vaccinated, according to the CBC’s vaccine tracker. Among those eligible, 88.9 per cent have had one dose and 84.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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: 1,412.
  • Calgary zone: 1,779.
  • North zone: 1,401.
  • Central zone: 1,139.
  • South zone: 652.
  • Unknown: 3.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

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