Alberta premier, health minister to speak at COVID-19 update Monday afternoon

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Jason Copping will be in attendance at a COVID-19 update on Monday afternoon.

Kenney and Copping will join Alberta Health Services CEO Verna Yiu and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw for the update at 3:30 p.m. Global News will live stream the media availability in this story post.

A media notice about the availability said the officials will provide an update on COVID-19 in Alberta and the ongoing work to protect public health.

This will be the first COVID-19 update Alberta has held since Canada identified its first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 over the weekend, in Ottawa.

Read more: Canada finds first cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant in Ontario. Here’s what we know

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On Monday morning, Ontario’s top doctor Dr. Kieran Moore confirmed the two travellers who have been identified as Canada’s first cases of the Omicron variant first entered the country through the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport before continuing on to Ottawa.

Ottawa Public Health is now conducting contact tracing to see whether anyone else has contracted the virus in connection with the original two cases.

Moore said Monday that the province is currently looking at four other cases — two more in Ottawa and two in Hamilton — as possible instances of the Omicron variant.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor suggests expanding testing for travellers amid Omicron variant' COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor suggests expanding testing for travellers amid Omicron variant

COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor suggests expanding testing for travellers amid Omicron variant

Read more: Can Omicron outpace Delta COVID-19 variant? Scientists seek answers

On Friday, Hinshaw took to Twitter to say that Alberta’s genetic sequencing program can detect mutations of the virus, including the new strain.

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Read more: Hinshaw works to reassure Albertans after new COVID variant Omicron identified

Monday’s update also comes one day ahead of the Alberta Health Services deadline for its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for all employees.

At the end of August, AHS announced that by Oct. 31 all employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted health-care providers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Oct. 22, AHS announced it was extending that deadline to Nov. 30. With the pressures of the fourth wave of COVID-19, AHS said it wanted to ensure it gave every opportunity to employees to get vaccinated and submit proof.

Read more: Alberta Health Services extends deadline for COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees

As of Friday afternoon, there were 5,017 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. There were 455 people in hospital with the disease, with 90 of those patients being treated in intensive care.

So far, 3,235 people have died of COVID-19 in Alberta.

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