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

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

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Public health agency trying to find out how many Canadians struggling with long COVID

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, shown on March 23, 2020, says Canada’s hospitals are still under intense strain despite signs Omicron cases are peaking.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, shown on March 23, 2020, says Canada’s hospitals are still under intense strain despite signs Omicron cases are peaking. Photo by REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the government is trying to find out how many Canadians are suffering from long COVID as researchers work to learn more about the prolonged effects of the virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada have launched a survey to try to get a broad idea of how common it is for people to feel lingering effects after COVID-19 infection, which can be difficult to identify and even harder to track.

Relatively little is known about the effects of long COVID, also known as post-COVID-19 condition, including how to diagnose it.

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Court rejects bid by B.C. government to throw out case against vaccination orders

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The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Photo by Felipe Fittipaldi /PNG

A judge has dismissed a bid by Dr. Bonnie Henry to have a legal challenge to several of her COVID-19 health orders thrown out of court.

The petition filed by an advocacy group argues the provincial health officer’s orders requiring vaccinations for health care workers are unconstitutional and should be set aside.

The Canadian Society for the Advancement of Science in Public Policy also alleges the orders fail to provide reasonable exemptions and accommodations for people with religious objections, vaccination risks, immunity from prior injection and recent negative COVID testing.

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Thursday

Long wait times reported for pediatric emergency rooms in Alberta

The Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary was photographed on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
The Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary was photographed on Thursday, January 20, 2022. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Alberta doctors are reporting lengthy wait times for pediatric patients at emergency departments in Calgary and Edmonton.

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Dr. Shazma Mithani, an emergency physician who spends part of her work weeks at Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital, said waits at that emergency department in recent days are “unprecedented.”

She said one major sign the department is overwhelmed is that staff sometimes haven’t been able to clear out the waiting room overnight. That means the department is already starting on the back foot to begin the day.

“Patients tend to stop coming overnight, so you can catch up and see all those people without more people coming in. And that’s basically a non-existent thing anymore,” Mithani said Thursday.

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Thursday

Canadians’ trips to liquor stores, pharmacies tracked via phones during pandemic

Olympia Liquor
Bottles of wine are seen lined up on a shelf in a liquor store. Photo by Getty Images

Canadians’ movements, including trips to the liquor store and pharmacy, were closely tracked via their mobile phones without their knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report sent to a parliamentary committee shows.

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Outbreak intelligence analysts BlueDot prepared reports using anonymized data for the Public Health Agency of Canada to help it understand travel patterns during the pandemic.

The federal government provided one of these reports to the House of Commons ethics committee as it probed the collection and use of mobile phone data by the public health agency.

The report reveals the agency was able to view a detailed snapshot of people’s behaviour, including visits to the grocery store, gatherings with family and friends, time spent at home and trips to other towns and provinces.

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Thursday

Alberta experiencing late season spike in influenza cases

Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Shivali Sharma gives a flu shot to a patient in Edmonton, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.
Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Shivali Sharma gives a flu shot to a patient in Edmonton, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Influenza cases have spiked in Alberta in recent weeks, marking a return of the illness after last year saw zero confirmed cases in the province.

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During a COVID-19 update on Wednesday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said there have been 707 cases of seasonal influenza recorded in the province this year. Data online show a large number of those cases were lab-confirmed in April. There were more than 8,000 lab-confirmed cases in the 2019-20 season.

“In Alberta, we have had more than 700 cases diagnosed this season, with the vast majority identified in the past two months,” said Hinshaw. “Actions to lower the risk of influenza infection are the same as those we need to continue for COVID — washing our hands regularly, staying home if sick, and for those at higher risk of severe outcomes, considering actions like wearing masks when in public places.”

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A total of 68 people in Alberta have needed hospital care, including three who were admitted into intensive care. No one has died from the flu this year.

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Thursday

China bolts people inside their homes to keep COVID at bay

The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, reports say.
The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, reports say. Photo by SCMP/ Twitter

Chinese officials are bolting residents shut inside their homes to prevent them spreading COVID. Public health workers used wires to barricade doors and installed iron bolts in order to lock people in, according to videos circulating on Chinese social media.

The videos were the latest sign of an increasingly draconian set of lockdowns that have triggered rare public dissent in China. The country is one of the few places in the world that still follows a strict “zero COVID” policy.

The measures are applied to those who refuse to hand over their apartment keys so they can be locked in from the outside, according to the independent publication Caixin Global.

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Thursday

Almost three times as many died as a result of COVID than officially reported: WHO

The World Health Organization is reporting the death toll from coronavirus is likely much higher than official counts show
The World Health Organization is reporting the death toll from coronavirus is likely much higher than official counts show Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Almost three times as many people have died as a result of COVID-19 as the official data show, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, the most comprehensive look at the true global toll of the pandemic so far.

There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the U.N. body said on Thursday. The official count of deaths directly attributable to COVID-19 and reported to WHO in that period, from January 2020 to the end of December 2021, is slightly more than 5.4 million.

The WHO’s excess mortality figures reflect people who died of COVID-19 as well as those who died as an indirect result of the outbreak, including people who could not access healthcare for other conditions when systems were overwhelmed during huge waves of infection. It also accounts for deaths averted during the pandemic, for example because of the lower risk of traffic accidents during lockdowns.

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