BREAKING NEWS:

CURRENT SITUATION UPDATE – MAY 21-22, 2020

I have combined information from press conferences, news releases and other sources from yesterday and today. Anything in green is an update on something from the last one I sent out or on an outbreak. Anything in bold and italics are my comments.  

If you would like to see anything that I sent out previously, or have a question on a particular topic, please ask me and I will be pleased to send to you whatever I have.

If anyone has anything helpful to add, please send it to me and I will include it. Linda

 

Potential Treatments

  • Around the World
  • Canada
  • Other Provinces
  • Alberta
  • Good News Stories

  

POTENTIAL TREATMENTS/TESTS

CanSino Vaccine Early Trial Results

          A study published today in the Lancet says that the vaccine is safe and effective at promoting an immune response. However, it goes on to say that the CanSino formulation needs more trials to determine whether it can actually protect against the virus.

          Early trials involving 108 adults in Wuhan produced neutralizing antibodies and a response in T-cells, which protect the body from pathogens, after 28 days, although the response was less. The CanSino formulation uses an adenovirus from the common cold. The study showed that people whose bodies recognized the cold virus didn’t get as much of the presumed benefit. The most common side effects which were said to be “mild” and “moderate,” were pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue and headache. There was no control group in this study. A Phase 2 trial has begun in Wuhan that is randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled. It will involve 500 adults, including participants older than age 60. It will also look at whether there are any adverse reactions up to 6 months after vaccination.

          Dalhousie University in Halifax will begin testing fewer than 100 people aged 18-55. A follow up study will involve almost 500 people across Canada, including those aged 65-85. 

 

UK Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Progressing To Next Stage

          The COVID-19 vaccine trial at Oxford University in Britain is moving on to the next phase.

          “The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are no initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults, and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population,” said Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group.

          The ChAdOx1 nCOV-19 vaccine is made from the ChAdOx1 virus, a weakened version of a common chimpanzee virus that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans, according to the Oxford researchers.

The first stage of the trial protected six monkeys from pneumonia caused by the virus. In that study, some monkeys received the vaccine while others did not. The monkeys were then challenged with the coronavirus; the vaccinated monkeys showed no signs of virus replication in the lungs, significantly lower levels of respiratory disease and no lung damage compared to control animals. 

Phase I human trials were started on April 23 in healthy volunteers, aged 18-55, and more than 1,000 immunizations have been completed. Follow-up is ongoing.

The next phase will enroll up to 10,260 adults and children and will involve a number of partner institutions across the UK. Phase II will involve a small number of older adults aged 56 to 59 and over 70, as well as children aged 50 to 12. Researchers will be assessing the immune response to the vaccine in different age groups, to find out if there is variation in how well the immune system responds in older adults and children. “Adult participants will be randomized to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or another licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison.”

To assess how well the vaccine works, the number of infections in the control group will be compared to the number in the vaccinated group. How long the results will take will depend on the level of virus transmission in the community, as a small number of study participants will need to actually contract the COVID-19 virus. As the UK has one of the highest number of cases in the world, this may not take as long as trials in another jurisdiction.

If the trials are successful, 30 million doses of the virus could be ready by September.
Vaccine Targetting “Achilles Heel” of Coronavirus

          Scientists at Israel’s Ramot, which is Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company, and Swiss biopharmaceutical company Neovil announced a vaccine candidate to target the “Achilles Heel” of coronavirus.

          Based on an epitope (the part of an antigen or foreign protein that can stimulate an immune response), the vaccine aims to reconstruct coronavirus’ Receptor Binding Motif (RBM) a critical structure of its “spike” protein. The spike protein is the major surface protein the virus uses to bind to receptor in the human cell.

          Like the Oxford lab, Tel Aviv University’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology has been working on coronaviruses for many years with SARS and MERS. Their avenue of investigation targets reconstructing and reconstituting the RBM structure of the spike protein. They hope to have a reconstituted RBM of the new coronavirus soon to use as the basis of a new vaccine.

 

Operation Warp Speed

          The US is launching a massive testing effort involving more than 100,000 volunteers and half a dozen of the most promising vaccine candidates in an effort to have a safe and effective vaccine by the end of 2020. The vaccine effort is part of Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), a public-private partnership which fits into the research and development arm of “Operation Warp Speed” the White House program President Trump announced last week to accelerate vaccine development.

          Leading vaccine makers have agreed to share data and lend the use of their clinical trial networks to competitors should their own vaccine candidate fail.

          Vaccine candidates that demonstrate safety in small early studies will be tested in huge trials of 20,000 to 30,000 subjects for each vaccine, slated to start in July. Between 100,000 and 150,000 may ultimately be enrolled in the studies.

          The normal vaccine testing phases will be compressed and may run concurrently in an effort to develop a vaccine quickly. Following phase one, the small safety test in healthy volunteers, phase 2 (a larger study to determine the right dose and see how efficacious the vaccine is), and phase 3 (large-scale testing in thousands of people) will overlap. Other nations trying to develop vaccines are also accelerating testing and overlapping phases. The US Government has committed billions of dollars to help manufacturers produce doses of vaccines.

          To get the quickest answers, vaccines will be tested in health care workers and communities where the virus is still spreading to show whether they reduce the number of cases. Washington is one likely test site, as it has still not reached its peak. It is also possible vaccines may be conducted in other countries where the virus has just started to spread.  

          The first vaccine to enter large-scale testing will be the Moderna vaccine which is already in the second phase of testing. This may occur in July. The Oxford vaccine may also be included then. The US Government has committed $1.2 billion US to secure 300 million doses of the Oxford vaccine.  

          Vaccines by Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi and Merck & Co. are a month or two behind the front-runners and may get added following early-stage human trials.

          There are several other candidates which could be tested once they get past the early-stage testing.

 

Kawasaki-like Disease affecting Children Caused by Coronavirus

          Scientists have found the first clear evidence that infection with coronavirus causes the Kawasaki-like inflammatory condition affecting children.

          A study in a Birmingham, UK hospital reveals they were infected with the SARS-CoV02 virus several weeks before showing symptoms. All the children tested negative in the traditional lab-based test used to diagnose adults. However, a custom-built antibody test revealed the children had been infected with the virus and produced antibodies to fight it off. Doctors who treated the children say antibody tests are the only way to accurately identify the presence of the virus in children suffering the hyperinflammatory condition. All the children had IgG and IgA antibodies indicating they had been infected but not recently (otherwise they would have had IgM antibodies). 

          It is not known why the syndrome develops several weeks after infection, but scientists believe it may be due to a severe overreaction from the body’s own immune system. The syndrome affecting children is being tentatively called PIMS-TS – “paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2.” British scientists say the name should be corrected to be “triggered by SARS-CoV-2.”

          The majority of children being hospitalised with the condition have a higher fever for a number of days, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some develop a rash and red eyes or lips, as well as swollen hands and feet. A few go into shock in which the heart is affected, and they may get cold hands and feet, and have rapid breathing. 

          The condition is treatable by using medications to calm down the immune system and dampen the overreaction.

 

35% of Coronavirus Patients Could Be Asymptomatic

          According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as a third of coronavirus patients could be asymptomatic.

 

–WORLD NEWS–

China to Impose Sweeping Security Law in Hong Kong

            Beijing is undercutting Hong Kong’s autonomy and bringing it under its full control. After steadily eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms, China is imposing a national security law that will criminalize “foreign interference” along with secessionist activities and subversion of state power.

            Pro-democracy protestors in Hong /Kong have directly appealed to Washington for intervention and see themselves as the last bastion of resistance against an increasingly assertive Beijing under President Xi Jinping.

            A government proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China last year, set off pro-democracy unrest, growing into a broad and sometimes violent rebellion calling for full democracy and opposing China’s efforts to chip away at Hong Kong’s autonomy.

            Under the agreement China signed with Britain before Britain had to hand Hong Kong back in 1997, the territory is supposed to enjoy its relative freedoms until at least 2047 under the “one country two systems” framework. This allowed Hong Kong to continue to run its own affairs except for foreign affairs and defense. It also allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a global financial centre even after returning to Beijing’s control. Under Xi’s leadership, the Chinese Communist Party has encroached on Hong Kong’s autonomy, and it looks like it may do away with it altogether.

            Pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested and violently removed from Hong Kong’s legislature. Pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok says that China has taken advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the pandemic to clamp down on Hong Kong and impose direct Chinese rule.

            The US has protested this abuse of power calling it a “death knell” for Hong Kong’s freedoms. The United Kingdom, Canada and Australia issued a joint statement that this imposition “would clearly undermine:  the freedoms China had guaranteed the former British colony in the Sino-British treaty of 1984.   

 

 World wide  5,304,340 cases; 340,0042 deaths;  2,158,569 recoveries

Just to keep this in perspective:

  • flu affects 1 billion people and causes 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide (source: Johns Hopkins Medicine)
  • The Spanish flu affected 1/3 of the people in the world at the time and killed between 50-100 million people.

Around the World

COVID-19 affects 213 countries and territories around the world.

Brazil

  • Brazil has 332,282 cases and 21,116 deaths, 135,430 have recovered. The biggest single increase was today, 1,492.
  • Brazil has now passed Russia in number of cases and is the 2nd highest in the world, behind only the US. It is 6th in death toll, but these are likely very undeerreported.
  • Coronavirus is spreading more quickly in Brazil than in any other country in the world, and is continuing to climb.
  • Many deaths are not being counted as Brazilian hospitals lack the tests to confirm.
  • President Jair Bolsonaro is being criticized for not shutting down the country to limit spread. He has scoffed at the seriousness of the virus and actively campaigned against state governors; attempts to impose limits on citizens; movements and commerce.
  • On Thursday, opposition lawmakers and other detractors protested in front of Congress in Brasilia, the capital, calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

 

Britain

  • Britain now has 254,195 cases and 36,393 deaths. There is no information on recoveries.
  • UK has slipped to the 5th highest in cases but is still the 2nd highest in deaths.
  • UK is the 4th highest in deaths per million people – 526 per million, behind Belgium, Spain and Italy.

 

Columbia

  • Columbia has 19,131 cases, with 682 deaths and 4,575 recoveries.
  • Cases in Columbia are rising. The capital, Leticia, which is at the border of Brazil and Peru has 1,300 cases.
  • Authorities are pointing at Brazil as the source of the sudden rise in infections.
  • President Ivan Duque has imposed strict measures aimed at keeping cases out, including militarizing the border. There are so many informal crossing points, however, that it is not possible to completely seal Columbia off from Brazil.

 

Ecuador

  • Ecuador has 35,828 cases with 3,056 deaths  and 3,557 recoveries.
  • Ecuador’s government declared a curfew in March, among other measures, but cases have swamped medical and mortuary services in the cities of Guayaquil and the capital of Quito.
  • Hundreds of people violate the curfew daily, many selling goods on the streets to earn enough to buy food. Others just ignore the restrictions.

 

France

  • France has 182,219 cases and 28,289 deaths, 64,209 people have recovered.
  • France is 7th in overall cases, and 5th in total deaths as well as 5th in deaths per million – 433 per million

 

Germany

  • Germany has 179,713 cases with 8,352 deaths, 159,000 people have recovered.
  • Germany is 8th in overall cases, but its death toll is much lower than other countries with high case numbers.

 

India

  • India has 121,101 cases, with 3,726 deaths and 51,8249 recoveries
  • India recorded its largest single-day surge on Monday due to migrant workers returning home after losing their jobs in India’s population centres. Most new Indian cases are in Bihar where thousands returned home. Some walked among crowds for hundreds of miles.
  • There were 5,242 new cases and 157 deaths recorded. The deaths are expected to rise due to the increase in cases.

 

Italy

  • Italy is now reporting 227,364 cases and 32,330 deaths, 132,282 people have recovered.
  • Italy is 6th in overall case numbers, and third in overall deaths as well as deaths per million people – 539 per million, behind only Belgium and Spain.

 

Mexico

  • Mexico has 62,527 cases (an increase of 2,960 today), 6,989 deaths (an increase of 479 today) and 42,725 recoveries
  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador played down the threat the virus posed for weeks and continued to travel across the country after Mexico’s first confirmed case. He insisted that Mexico’s strong family bonds and work ethic would pull it through.
  • Mexico has been reporting more than 400 deaths a day and the infections have not reached their peak as yet. Many deaths have been categorized as “atypical pneumonia” which are suspected of being from coronavirus but are not included in the death total.
  • Crematoriums are having difficulty keeping up with the deaths.
  • The Mexican government is reactivating the economy.
  • Mining, construction and parts of the North American automotive supply chain were allowed to resume operations this week.

 

Pakistan

  • Pakistan has 50,694 cases with 1,067 deaths and 15,201 recoveries.

 

Peru

  • Peru has 111,698 cases, with 3,244 deaths and 44,848 recoveries
  • Peru does not have enough intensive care beds for the number of seriously ill patients, and many are propped in wheelchairs to receive oxygen.
  • Most patients are shopkeepers, taxi drivers or street vendors.

     

Russia

  • Russia’s cases continue to climb but it has slipped to third in cases behind only the US and Brazil. Russia has 326,448 cases, 3,249 deaths and 99,825 are reported as recovered.
  • State news agencies reported that Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the southern region of Chechnya, was taken to a Moscow hospital with suspected COVID-19 symptoms.
  • The Muslim area of Dagestan in the North Caucus mountains is another hot spot of infection and field hospitals have been deployed.
  • Russian’s death toll remains low, but Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the deaths were confirmed by autopsy. Russian noted that their death count is more accurate because it confirms what actually killed the person rather than counting it as a COVID-19 death when there were other underlying conditions that actually killed the person.
  • They expect deaths to increase in May due to the higher number of cases.
  • Prime Minister Mihai Mishustin, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov and three other cabinet ministers have tested positive for the virus. Mishustin, Peskov and one minister have recovered.
  • Most of Russia has reopened its economy, except Moscow an the surrounding region which are still under strict lockdown conditions.

 

Spain

  • Spain is reporting 281,904 cases and 28,628 deaths, 196,958 people have recovered.
  • Spain has slipped to the 4th highest in cases behind the US, Brazil and Russia, and increased to 4th spot in deaths behind US, UK, and Italy.
  • However, Spain is the 2nd  highest in deaths per million population – 612 per million people, behind only Belgium.

     

United States

  • The US now has 1,645,094 cases and 97,647 deaths, 403,201 have recovered.
  • US deaths are 295 per million people, 9th behind Belgium, Spain, Italy, UK, France, Sweden the Netherlands, and Ireland.
  • President Trump declared churches, synagogues and mosques to be essential services and urged governors across the US to allow them to reopen this weekend.
  • There are calls for a federal investigation into the huge amount of deaths in long-term care and nursing homes. Nationally, over 35,500 people have died from out breaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about a third of the overall death toll.
  • More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients in New York were sent to already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive by Governor Andrew Cuomo, when New York was afraid its hospitals would be overwhelmed. This had the effect of accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreak, according to a new report. Nursing home operators said the state order “put staff and residents at great risk” and “the effect of that order was to contribute to 5,000 deaths.” More than 5,800 deaths occurred in these facilities in New York. The order was not changed until May 10 when those patients were housed in temporary hospitals instead.
  • New Jersey instituted a similar process, and its toll is the second-highest in nursing home deaths.
  • California followed suit but ended the requirement following intense criticism.
  • Some states took the opposite tack. Louisiana barred hospitals for 30 days from discharging patients to nursing homes with some exceptions. Louisiana experienced about 1000 coronavirus-related nursing home deaths.
  • President Trump visited a Ford plant in Michigan.
  • Georgia opened early but the results have not turned out as scary as many critics claimed it would be. There has been no surge in cases and deaths.

  

Canada 

  • Confirmed cases         82,469
  • Probable cases                    11
  • Deaths                          6,250
  • Recoveries                  42,594
  • No. of Tests:          1,405,208

Areas in Canada with cases of COVID-19 as of MAY 22, 5:00 pm MDT

 Province, territory or other                    Confirmed        Probable       Deaths   Recovered

British Columbia                                       2,507                   0             155           1,975

Alberta                                                      6,800                   0             134           5,584

Saskatchewan                                              627                   0                 7              470

Manitoba                                                     281                   0                 7              257

Ontario                                                    26,628                   0          2,021         18,190

Quebec                                                    46,141                   0          3,865         12,497

New Brunswick                                            121                   0                 0              120

Nova Scotia                                               1,048                   0               58              956

Prince Edward Island                                     27                   0                 0                27

Newfoundland and Labrador                       260                   0                 3              250

Yukon                                                             11                   0                 0                11

Northwest Territories                                      5                   0                 0                  5

Nunavut                                                            0                   0                 0                  0

Repatriated travellers                                  13                   0                 0     Unknown

Up-to-date information is available at Canada.ca/COVID-19

— Canadian News–

 

Prime Minister Trudeau Announcements

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Program

            Prime Minister Trudeau announced this morning in his daily press conference that there would be a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Program where the landlord of small or medium businesses would apply for the relief. The federal government will pay 50% of the rent, and the landlord and tenant each pay 25%.

 

More on Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

            Announced last week, the LEEFF program is particularly aimed at airlines and oil and gas companies and is designed for distressed companies wit hat least $300 million in annual revenue. The minimum loan size will be $60 million and there is no stated maximum loan size.

            The program offers the government’s help as a lender of last resort to companies unable to obtain private financing that would be at r4isk of falling into bankruptcy due to the pandemic. Unsecured loans will be offered at 5% per year, rising to 8% in the second year and increasing by 2% a year thereafter. The company must provide the government with the option to purchase common shares through a stock warrant, or receive cash equivalents, equal to 15% of the principal amount of the loan. The government could also appoint an observer tro the corporate board of a company receiving a loan. Any company securing a loan must agree not to pay its executives more than $1million.

 

–Other Canadian News –

Oh, the Irony

            Discussion is currently ongoing among Canadian political parties about the resumption of Parliament and its oversight on the Prime Minister’s runaway spending – on areas he claims are where it is most needed, despite pleas from all the left-out groups.

            Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and the NDP House Leader agree that Parliament should resume using the new ability of the House of Commons to emulate the UK House of Commons’ virtual technology under which it has been operating for many weeks. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is not really on board, however. Andrew Scheer wants Parliament to be declared an essential service.

            Prime Minister Trudeau is very happy with the way Parliament has been not functioning for the last two months. He likes his morning press conference in which he hands out the sugar plums, and the very short question periods in which our elected representatives are not allowed to ask questions about anything unrelated to COVID.

            Here comes the ironic part. Separatist bloc leader, Yves-Francoise Blanchet, is either getting tired of the PM’s morning handout or sees an opportunity to use it to his advantage. “The Bloc Quebecois is threatening to support a resumption of in-person sittings of the House of Commons five days a week if the Trudeau government doesn’t agree to a number of demands.”

            Rex Murphy gives it the full treatment in his National Post article which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/110225254594/posts/10158704189434595/?sfnsn=mo

  

Provinces

New Brunswick

  • Premier Blaine Higgs announced that New Brunswick’s “yellow level” of its reopening plan started today.
  • Hair salons and barbers are allowed to open today.
  • People can expand their social “bubbles” to include up to 10 family members and close friends.
  • Also restarting are non-regulated medical services and personal service businesses such as beauty salons and tattoo parlours.
  • Starting May 29, additional public gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be allowed as long as there is physical istancing.
  • Swimming pools, saunas, water parks, gyms, yoga and dance studios, rinks, pool halls and bowling alleys will be able to open.
  • Temporary foreign workers will be allowed to enter the province on May 29  but they will still have to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union said lifting the ban now was too late as the fishing season ends at the end of June.
  • On June 19 overnight camps will be allowed to reopen.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Outdoor tennis can resume starting today.
  • Pet grooming services can open on Monday.
  • The province has not had a new case in 2 weeks.

 

Saskatchewan

  • Saskatchewan has 99 active cases, and 5 in ICU.
  • Premier Scott Moe announced today that June 8th is the phase 3 target date
  • Phase 3 will see restaurants and bars will open at 50 % capacity, as well as gyms and fitness facilities.
  • Child care facilities with a limit of 15 people per child care place
  • Physical distancing and sanitizing practices will be in effect

 

Alberta

 MAY 21-22, 2020, 5:15 p.m.

 –Major announcements–

–Premier Jason Kenney–

 Calgary and Brooks to Expand Reopening

Premier Jason Kenney has announced that Calgary and Brooks will be able to reopen cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars at 50% capacity on May 25, as well as hairstylists and barbers.

On June 1, day camps and summer camps, post secondary schools, including summer school, will be permitted within the limits for in-person classes outlined by public health. Church services and funeral services will also be allowed to resume on June 1 according to the restrictions in the rest of the province.

 

Strengthening International Borders

Premier Jason Kenney announced yesterday that Alberta will be implementing new screening measures for international travellers, effective immediately.

At Calgary and Edmonton International Airports, travellers will have to pass a provincial checkpoint where they will undergo a temperature check and must provide a self-isolation plan for 14 days. They will have to advise where they will self-isolate, how they will get there, and who will be providing them with food and medications, and any other support required. Anyone who cannot meet the requirements will be quarantined on site or put up in a hotel.  This screening will occur after travellers have cleared customs and screening by Canada Border Services Agency.

Airports will also implement enhanced cleaning protocols for arrival lounges and high-touch surfaces, and place hand sanitizer stations at every kiosk and touch screen machine.

Similar screening measures will be set up at the Coutts border crossing where 90% of land travellers enter Alberta. The provincial checkpoint will be located just north of the CBSA screening area.

Members of Alberta Health Services will conduct the screening. Anyone who fails the initial thermal scan will be required to have a second temperature check with a touchless thermometer, according to Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Anyone found to have any of the key symptoms of COVID will be quarantined if they can’t get home or to isolation without potentially exposing anyone else.

Within 3 days of returning to Alberta, all international travellers will receive a follow-u call from a provincial official to ensure they have everything they need to self-isolate for 2 weeks. The Premier said that “countries like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have been successful at mitigating the spread because they took immediate action securing their borders …” He reiterated his position that “it was irresponsible for Canada to wait so long to close our borders, especially from countries with high levels of infection.”

The program will run through August 31 and cost about $800,000, including funding for hotel rooms. The measure is designed to protect Albertans from further spread from international travellers.

 

–Minister of Health Tyler Shandro–

 Additional Testing for Long-Term Care and Supportive Living Facilities

Starting May 25, voluntary testing will be available in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities and Calgarians will be able to book COVID-19 tests online.

About 27,000 residents and 44,000 staff in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities – those providing a higher level of support to people with more complex needs – can now be tested for COVID-19, if they choose, even if they have no symptoms.

As Calgary sets to reopen more businesses as part of stage one of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, AHS will add an extension to the online self-assessment tool for the Calgary region, effective May 25. Symptomatic individuals within the zone will be able to book their own testing appointment if they live within 50 kilometres of an assessment centre and if the self-assessment tool indicates a test is required.

This additional feature will make it easier for people to schedule a COVID-19 test at a time and location that is convenient for them. This expansion will also provide public health officials with quicker access to testing information.

 

Hospitals to Resume Many Services

AHS is moving forward with resuming surgeries.  Since May 4, more than 3,000 day surgeries have been performed.

Starting this week, scheduled in-patient (overnight) surgeries will resume across the province, including joint replacements, and heart surgeries. Those Albertans who have been waiting the longest will get their surgeries first.

As of June 3, Calgary’s South Campus and High River Hospital will once again offer maternity and newborn services.

 

Access to Justice

  • The Provincial Court of Alberta has updated its plan for the staged resumption of court operations. The changes involve family mediation; the rescheduling and adjournment of provincial tickets, bylaws and other matters; and criminal adult out-of-custody criminal trials and preliminary inquiries.
  • More information: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements

 

–Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw–

 Case updates

Today there were only 57 new cases reported yesterday, and 32 today. There are now 865 active cases in the province and 5,801 people have recovered. There was four deaths reported yesterday– these did not all occur yesterday, but over the last few days. Sometimes it takes a few days for death reports to reach the Ministry. The deaths were all in long-term care in Calgary – a man in his 70s, a man and woman in their 80’s, and a woman in her 90’s.  There were two additional deaths today, a woman in her 70s from Carewest Sarcee in Calgary and a woman in her 90s from Kensington Village Shepherd’s Care Campus in Edmonton. The total deaths are now 134.   54 people are in hospital with 6 in intensive care.

 

Latest updates

 32 new cases have been reported, bringing the number of active cases to 865. 5,801 people have recovered.

  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 689 active cases and 3,912 recovered cases in the Calgary zone
    • 92 active cases and 1,122 recovered cases in the South zone
    • 58 active cases and 453 recovered cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 18 active cases and 199 recovered cases in the North zone
    • 4 active cases and 94 recovered cases in the Central zone
    • 3 active cases and 21 recovered cases in zones yet to be confirmed
    • Additional information, including the total number of cases, is reported online.
  • There have been 611 cases to date with an unknown exposure.
  • The total deaths are 134: 97 in the Calgary zone; 15 in the North zone; 13 in the Edmonton zone; 8 in the South zone; and one in the Central zone.
  • There are 83 active cases and 621 recovered cases at continuing care facilities. 100 residents at these facilities have died.
  • So far, 209,412 Albertans have been tested and labs have performed 228,793 tests, with 3,205 tests completed in the last 24 hours.
  • Any individual exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath, is eligible for testing. People can access testing by completing the COVID-19 self-assessment online. A separate self-assessment tool is available for health-care and shelter workers, enforcement and first responders.
  • Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographic areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.

 

 (Central zone and areas around Calgary includes:

Ponoka County – 3 cases, 1 active, 0 deaths, 2 recovered

City of Camrose – 2 cases, 0 active, 1 death, 1 recovered

County of Camrose – 1 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 1 recovered

Red Deer – 37 cases; 2 active, 0 deaths, 35 recovered

City of Lacombe – 2 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 2 recovered

County of Lacombe – 3 cases; 0 active, 0 deaths; 3 recovered

Clearwater County – 3 cases, 1 active, 0 death; 2 recovered

County of Stettler – 3 cases, 0 active, 0 death; 3 recovered

Red Deer County – 16 cases, 1 active, 0 deaths, 15 recovered

Clearwater County – 2 cases; 1 active, 0 deaths; 2 recovered

Mountain View County – 9 cases, 2 active, 0 deaths, 7 recovered

Kneehill County – 4 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths; 4 recovered

MD of Bighorn – 18 cases; 0 active, 0 deaths; 18 recovered

MD of Rockyview – 43 cases; 5 active, 0 deaths; 38 recovered

Wheatland County – 9 cases; 1 active, 0 deaths; 8recovered

ID No. 9 (Banff & Canmore) – 4 cases; 1 active, 0 deaths; 3 recovered

Foothills County – 725 cases, 25 active, 8 deaths; 692 recovered

City of Airdrie – 47 cases, 6 active, 1 deaths, 40 recovered

City of Calgary – 3800 cases;  639 active, 88 deaths; 3073 recovered

City of Brooks – 1092 cases, 52 active, 7 deaths, 1033 recovered

County of Newell – 15 cases, 3 active, 0 deaths; 12 recovered

Special Areas No. 2 – 2 cases; 0 active, 1 death; 1 recovered

 

I am including smaller towns within counties, where I can get the information.  The total of each smaller town is also included in the country total. If there is a town I have not included that you would like to see, please let me know and I will see if I can get that info. Sometimes more than 1 town is lumped in together or not separated from the county figures – for example, Penhold, Blackfalds and the area around Red Deer is included in Red Deer County figures.

 

Black Diamond – 29 cases, 3 active, 0 deaths, 26 recovered

Canmore – 18 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 18 recovered

Cochrane-Springbank – 20 cases, 3 active, 0 deaths, 17 recovered

Crossfield – 6 cases, 1 active, 0 deaths, 5 recovered

Chestermere – 32 cases, 6 active, 0 deaths, 26 recovered

Didsbury/Carstairs – 5 cases,1 active, 0 deaths, 4 recovered

Drumheller – 2 cases, 2 active

High River – 535 cases, 14 active, 7 deaths, 514 recovered

Innisfail/Bowden – 1 case, 0 active, 0 deaths, 1 recovered

Okotoks – Priddis – 164 cases, 9 active, 1 deaths, 154 recovered

Olds – 3 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 3 recovered

Rocky Mountain House – 1 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 1 recovered

Strathmore – 22 cases, 3 active, 0 deaths, 19 recovered

Sundre – 2 case, 1active, 0 deaths, 1 recovered

Sylvan Lake – 3 cases, 0 active; 0 deaths; 3 recovered

Three Hills / Highway 21 – 4 cases, 0 active, 0 deaths, 4 recovered

 

OUTBREAK SITES

  • Outbreak = 2 or more cases which indicates community spread in the facility. Congregate sites are required to report even 1 possible case. Outbreak is declared over when 4 weeks have passed with no new cases.
  • Long-term care and supported living facilities with COVID-19 cases:   I have included the information from the Alberta government website plus information from other sources.
  • If a site is no longer on the list it is because there have been no new cases for four  weeks.
  • There are now 105 active cases and 559 recovered cases in continuing care facilities, and 83 have died.
    • Academy of Aging, Calgary
    • AgeCare Sunrise Gardens, Brooks
    • Bethany Care Centre, Calgary seniors home in the NW has confirmed 2 cases; one is a resident and 1 a staff member. The resident has since died.
    • Bow View Manor, Calgary – this site was declared outbreak free, then another case occurred in a staff member acquired outside of the facility. There are no cases in other staff members or residents.
    • Carewest Sarcee, Calgary has 12 cases and 2 deaths.
    • Clifton Manor, Calgary, now has 27 confirmed cases among residents and 18 in staff for a total of 45 cases, and 7 deaths;  13 residents and 12 staff have recovered.
    • Hillcrest Extendicare, Calgary, 2 deaths
    • High River Long term Care (in High River Hospital) – 2 deaths
    • , 2 deaths.
    • Intercare  Chinook Care Centre, Calgary
    • JB Wood Continuing Care, High Prairie, 4 deaths
    • Kensington Village – Shepherd’s Care – 37 cases – 29 have recovered, 4 deaths
    • Manoir du Lac Retirement Home in McLennan. The last numbers were 38 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.
    • McKenzie Towne Long Term Care, Calgary, 114 confirmed cases, 20 deaths. A new positive case was identified.
    • Millrise Place, Calgary
    • Monterey Seniors Village, Calgary
    • Proverbium 3 Homes Inc., Calgary
    • Providence Care Centre, Calgary
    • Sunrise Gardens, Brooks

 

  • Other outbreak sites:
  • Amazon Distribution Centre, Balzac
  • APS Calgary
  • Calgary Alpha House
  • Calgary Drop-in Rehab Centre Society, Calgary – 10 cases, 2 recovered
  • Calgary Refrigerated Warehouse, Calgary
  • Canada Post, Calgary
  • Cargill Meat Processing Plant/High River
  • Cascade Recovery+, Calgary, 14 cases
  • Fibrebuilt Manufacturing, Calagry
  • Flyers force, Calgary
  • Golden Happiness Bakery
  • Harmony Beef – Meat packing, Rocky View County
  • Horizon Work Camp, Fort McMurray -5 cases
  • JBS Foods/Brooks
  • Kearl Lake work camp north of Fort McMurray – there have now been 107 cases over a 6 week period.  Strict measures are in place which has reduced further spread.
  • McDonalds, Brooks
  • Midtown Co-op, Calgary
  • Purolator, Calgary – 59 employees, 5 have recovered so far
  • Terashita’s No Frills, Brooks
  • Subaru, Calgary
  • Thomas Fresh, Calgary 

Aggressive measures are being implemented in all outbreaks and they are affective.  AHS and Public Health has learned from the earlier outbreaks and is putting aggressive measures in place immediately an outbreak is identified. Exposures that happened before measures put in place can continue to happen for up to 2 weeks because of the long incubation period.

 

Supporting Alberta businesses through relaunch

A new Alberta Biz Connect web page provides business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces and sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one of relaunch to ensure businesses can reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a template which can be completed to help plan how employees an patrons will be protected from the spread of infection.

For more information, visit alberta.ca/BizConnect

 

ABTraceTogether app

  • The ABTraceTogether app will enhance current manual contact tracing and capacity, and facilitate early detection to help reduce the spread of the virus and better protect Albertans. It means Albertans will be contacted more quickly if they are at risk.
  • Use of the app is voluntary; users must opt in.
  • The app does not track the user’s physical location and does not use GPS. Protecting privacy is paramount; all contact data is only on the user’s phone and is deleted after 21 days.
  • Secure contact tracing is a cornerstone of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. More information on the app, including links to download it, can be found online.
  • Since its launch, the app has attracted 185,803 registered users.

 

–OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS –

 

High Stream Advisory for the Elbow River

Due to all the rain that is still coming down, the province has issued a high stream advisory for the Elbow River.

 

Twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive in St. Albert

The government has committed more than $27 million for the expansion which will support more than 150 jobs for Albertans.

The $54.2 million project will be share 50-50 between the Government of Alberta and the City of Alberta. More than 20,000 vehicles a day travel Ray Gibbon Drive which connects St. Albert with Anthony Henday Drive, the Yellowhead Highway and the City of Edmonton.

 

JBS Beef in Brooks to Restart Second Shift

The JBS Beef Processing plant in Brooks is planning to return to two shifts a day on Thursday for the first time in a month. The company has implemented more than 100 safety measures at the plant since January, including temperature tests of all workers entering the plant, providing and requiring face masks, and physical partitions on production lines.

 

–GOOD NEWS STORIES—

.

Calgary Zoo Reopening

The Calgary Zoo is reopening its outside exhibits only. People will be able to walk through all the outside walks, restaurants will be open. The indoor enclosures will remain closed.

 

Ontario Centenarian Walking 100 km

Ontario World War II veteran and almost-centenarian George Markow wants to walk 100 km before his 100thbirthday next spring. He lives in a retirement home in Newmarket where there is a walking path that circles the gardens; 15 times around equals 1 km. He is determined to walk it 1,500 times.

With a grandson as a front-line health care worker, George wants to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign to go to medical research organizations such as Sunnybrook Research Institute and the Southlake Regional hospital Foundation COVID-19 Action Fund.

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