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COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for April 6

Watch this page throughout the day for updates on COVID-19 in Calgary

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Tuesday

Hinshaw testifies some personal freedoms had to be limited to protect all Albertans from COVID-19 threat

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides an update on COVID-19 in the province during a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides an update on COVID-19 in the province during a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health acknowledged Tuesday that the measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic affected individual rights.

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But Dr. Deena Hinshaw told a hearing challenging her public health orders that the measures were a “last resort” necessary to protect individuals from the coronavirus and maintain the viability of the health-care system.

Under cross-examination by lawyer Leighton Grey, one of two counsel representing parties challenging the constitutionality of Hinshaw’s orders, the doctor said such measures were needed when voluntary compliance didn’t prevent the spread of the disease.

“With many of the health orders you made you knew, the Government of Alberta knew, that they were limiting or restricting individual freedoms . . . isn’t that so?” Grey asked.

“The last resort was to restrict those freedoms when the ability to mitigate the risk that COVID posed to the population was not possible with the . . . voluntary means that had previously been employed,” Hinshaw said.

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Tuesday

More boosters? Vax advisory committee tells province to prepare

Provinces and territories should quickly get ready to offer fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks starting with people over the age of 80 and long-term care residents, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday.

NACI strongly recommended a second booster for people between 70 and 79 years of age, and said they may also be offered to people from First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities.

“Preliminary data indicate that a second booster dose provides additional protection, including against severe disease,” the committee reported Tuesday.

In general, a second booster dose should be given 6 months after the patients got their first booster shots, NACI says, though that optimal timeline will need to be weighed against how rampant COVID-19 is at the local level.

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The committee also suggests a recent COVID-19 infection should be factored in, since boosters are best offered at least three months after symptom onset or a positive test.

Ontario’s health minister said today that province will announce a plan tomorrow for expanding eligibility for second booster shots.

— The Canadian Press


Tuesday

Hybrid of BA.1 and BA.2, called XE, could be the most transmissible variant yet: WHO

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an information sign for a coronavirus “pod” at a hospital in London, on March 3.
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past an information sign for a coronavirus “pod” at a hospital in London, on March 3. Photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

The disclosure of new COVID variants emerging in China and the rise of a potentially more transmissible strain in the U.K. has recast the spotlight on the ongoing risk of the virus, even as health experts say there’s no reason to panic.

The World Health Organization said a hybrid of two omicron strains — BA.1 and BA.2 — that was first detected in the U.K. and dubbed XE could be the most transmissible variant yet. It is estimated to spread 10% more easily than BA.2, which itself was more transmissible than the original omicron famous for its ease of penetration.

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Meanwhile in China, which is experiencing its biggest outbreak since Wuhan, authorities have disclosed two novel omicron subvariants that don’t match any existing sequences. It’s unclear if the infections were one-off events of little significance, or if they may be a sign of problems ahead.

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Tuesday

Quebec extends mask mandate as new COVID wave spreads in Canada

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to a question during a news conference in Montreal, Jan. 11, 2022.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to a question during a news conference in Montreal, Jan. 11, 2022. Photo by Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Quebec will require masks to be worn in indoor public spaces for all of April, delaying a plan to relax the measure by the middle of the month as it and other Canadian provinces face a new COVID-19 wave, a top public health official said on Tuesday.

The province, the second most populous in Canada, will become one of the last parts of North America to continue a mask mandate in public indoor places like stores, with health officials projecting a rise in cases and hospitalizations.

“We do not expect the mask will be needed after the month of April,” Dr. Luc Boileau, the province’s interim public health director, told reporters. “But we have to wait and see how the progression of this wave will be.”

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Tuesday

Should Canada be worried about a sixth wave of COVID-19? Three experts weigh in

Simon Fraser University professor Caroline Colijn: “We want to make sure we’re not moving into this next phase with our elderly and the people boosted first actually having lower protection” as their immunity wanes.
Simon Fraser University professor Caroline Colijn: “We want to make sure we’re not moving into this next phase with our elderly and the people boosted first actually having lower protection” as their immunity wanes. Photo by Dale Northey/File

There’s been no official national declaration of a sixth wave of COVID-19, but plenty of chatter and grumblings of one.

It’s hard to get any kind of grasp on exact numbers. There’s an old saying in medicine that if you don’t take a temperature, you can’t find a fever.

With less testing than at virtually any point during the pandemic, “it certainly makes you wonder if the hope was that, by stopping to look for it, it won’t be a problem,” says Montreal infectious diseases specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton. “Except that’s not the way a pandemic virus works.”

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Tuesday

Freedom Convoy protester not seriously injured by horse, police watchdog finds

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Demonstrators stand in front of Canadian police officers riding horses, as truckers and supporters protest vaccine mandates in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2022.
Demonstrators stand in front of Canadian police officers riding horses, as truckers and supporters protest vaccine mandates in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2022. Photo by REUTERS, file

The Ontario police watchdog says a woman who claimed she was injured by a police horse during the “freedom convoy” protest was not hurt seriously enough to warrant an investigation.

The Special Investigations Unit was looking into police behaviour during the large-scale police operation to disperse the protests in downtown Ottawa that gridlocked the city’s downtown for more than three weeks.

The blockades, which at times also shuttered several border crossings, were demanding an end to all COVID-19 mandates, but some protesters also wanted to force the Liberal government out of office.

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