Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Dec. 1


Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, confirmed Tuesday that a case of the omicron variant has been found in a traveller returning to Alberta from Nigeria and the Netherlands.

Alberta’s first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed

Andre Mattus, right, a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center, gives the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Amar Gunderson, 6, on Nov. 9, 2021, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

The latest COVID-19 numbers: 

  • Alberta’s first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed in a traveller who returned to the province from Nigeria and the Netherlands, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, told a news conference Tuesday.
  • She said the individual, who had been travelling alone, returned to Alberta about a week ago and tested for COVID-19 on arrival. The person has not left quarantine since arrival from international travel.
  • Kenney said Monday the province was monitoring the 156 travellers who had returned from southern Africa in the past two weeks. The travellers have been given information on COVID-19 protocols and offered rapid-testing kits in addition to PCR tests.
  • The Alberta government reported Tuesday that there were 238 new COVID-19 cases.
  • Alberta Health says there are 434 people with COVID in hospital; 81 of them are in intensive care. 
  • The province recorded six new deaths on Tuesday.

WATCH: Dr. Deena Hinshaw shares what experts know about the latest COVID-19 variant:

Alberta’s top doctor details what is known about omicron variant

23 hours ago

Dr. Deena Hinshaw shares what experts know about the latest COVID-19 variant, which has now been confirmed in Alberta. 1:53

  • A total of 3,248 Albertans have died since the pandemic began.
  • There are active alerts or outbreaks in 147 schools.
  • The total number of active cases in Alberta is 4,454.
  • 327,454 Albertans are considered to have recovered.
  • 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 1.0 means transmission is no longer growing. Provincewide, the R-value for Nov. 8 to 28 was 0.88, with a confidence interval between 0.84 and 0.91.
  • The R-value for the Edmonton zone is 0.95, and in Calgary it’s 0.90. In the rest of Alberta the rate is 0.80.
  • In response to falling COVID-19 numbers across the province, the government is only giving live media updates once a week and otherwise posting daily numbers online.

The latest on vaccines:

  • Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 won’t be able to board a plane or train in Canada beginning Nov. 30, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people.
  • Alberta’s vaccine record now meets the recommended Canadian standard for domestic and international travel. It includes middle names and is in both official languages at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.
  • Kenney said Monday that Albertans can now download an updated QR federal code for air and rail travel after it was suspended following a data breach last week. The premier said an investigation into the reasons for the data breach is ongoing.

  • The percentage of eligible people who are vaccinated dropped on Nov. 26, as children between the ages of five to 11 were added to the population of those eligible in Alberta:
    • 71.4 per cent of the province’s total population — or 76 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages five years and older) — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Out of the province’s total population, 76.1 per cent have received at least one dose, or 81 per cent of (ages 5 and over), according to CBC’s vaccine tracker. 
    • That compares with 79.2 per cent of the total population Canada-wide that have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.6 per cent of the total population are fully vaccinated. Among those eligible, 83.3 per cent have had one dose and 79.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.

  • COVID-19 vaccination appointments began Nov. 26 for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
    • Appointments can be made for children at Alberta.ca/vaccine or by calling Heath Link at 811.
    • The pediatric vaccines are being delivered to 120 vaccination clinics across the province, although not in schools.
    • Children eligible for vaccines who live on a First Nations reserve can access doses through nursing stations or public health clinics on the reserve.
    • Regardless of whether they are vaccinated, children ages five to 11 will not be subject to Alberta’s restrictions exemption program.

  • More  Albertans became eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Nov. 8 including:
    • Residents aged 70 and older.
    • First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents 18 years and up are able to access the booster shots.
    • Frontline health-care workers. The doses need to be booked for a time that’s at least six months after the second dose. 
  • The province said Nov. 23 it is now recommending an eight-week interval between mRNA vaccines.
    • The Alberta government is now advising that anyone between the ages of 12 and 29 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rather than Moderna.

  • Kenney’s government imposed a voluntary vaccine passport system as of Sept. 20 to combat the disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19.

  • As of Nov. 15, anyone wanting to enter a business taking part in the Alberta restrictions exemption program must present proof of vaccination that includes a QR code. For those over 18, valid identification matching that record is also required.
    • Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine records with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords.
    • The AB COVID Records Verifier app is available to download on Apple and Android devices. 
    • Exceptions include First Nations and military vaccination records.
    • 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.
    • Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part, have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing.
    • As of Monday (Nov. 29), ski hills can operate outdoor activities without implementing the program. Masking will still be required in enclosed areas.
    • Ski hill operators can implement the program for indoor areas to permit indoor dining and other activities.
    • A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government’s website

  • The City of Calgary’s state of local emergency expires on Dec. 2. However, the vaccine passport bylaw and face covering bylaw will remain in place.
  • On  Nov. 15, Calgary city council voted unanimously in favour of extending the city’s mandatory vaccination policy for staff to include citizen members appointed to boards, commissions and committees. 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.
  • 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.
  • AHS extended a deadline for employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers to comply with its mandatory immunization policy until Nov. 30.

The latest on surgeries, hospitals, mask bylaws and more: ​​​​​​

  • Support people who are symptomatic for, or diagnosed with, COVID-19 are no longer be able to accompany maternity patients into hospitals.
    • Alberta Health had previously allowed designated support people who were COVID-19 positive or symptomatic into hospitals with maternity patients. They rescinded the order after determining with Alberta Health Services that health-care facilities couldn’t provide the additional protections required.

  • AHS has begun administering a new monoclonal antibody treatment that was recently approved by Health Canada, Hinshaw said on Nov. 9.
    • Sotrovimab is a new drug developed for treating patients with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms.
    • It is the first treatment to be offered to outpatients in Alberta.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Tuesday:

  • Calgary zone: 1,761.
  • Edmonton zone: 1,107.
  • North zone: 753.
  • Central zone: 591.
  • South zone: 330.
  • Unknown: 3.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

|Corrections and Clarifications

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