With COVID-19 news changing every day, we have created this file to keep you up-to-date on all the latest stories and information in and around Edmonton.
Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
Before calling Health Link use the COVID-19 Assessment & Testing Tool to check symptoms.
Health Link continues to experience high daily call volumes and Alberta Health Services (AHS) is encouraging all Albertans to assess their symptoms or the symptoms of someone they are caring for using the online assessment and testing tool before calling Health Link.
AHS has updated the COVID-19 Assessment and Testing Tool to make it easier for Albertans to assess their symptoms, determine if they should talk to someone about their symptoms, such as their doctor or Health Link staff, access self-care tips to help manage mild COVID-19 symptoms at home and to determine whether or not they are eligible for PCR testing.
The tool has up-to-date guidance for adults, children and youth and is available at ahs.ca/covidscreen.
What’s happening now
COVID-19 in Alberta
Here are COVID-19 numbers released today by Alberta Health, covering a seven-day period from May 3 to May 9. Data is updated every Wednesday afternoon:
- The province is reporting 3,106 new COVID-19 cases over seven days, through 18,349 tests completed.
- There are 1,165 people in hospital with COVID-19, a decrease of 60 since May 9. There are 42 people in ICU, an increase of five since May 9.
- There were another 55 COVID-related deaths reported to Alberta Health Services, bringing the total to 4,452 since the start of the pandemic.
- Alberta’s two-dose vaccination rate for the population age 12 and over is 87 per cent.
COVID infections among Canadian adults tripled during Omicron wave compared to previous waves: study
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The number of Canadian adults infected with COVID-19 tripled during the fifth wave of the pandemic compared with the total number of adults infected in the previous four waves, according to a new study led by Toronto researchers.
More than 5,000 Canadian adults — members of the Angus Reid Forum, a public polling cohort — participated in the fourth phase of the Action to Beat Coronavirus (Ab-C) study. The findings of the study were published as a letter to the editor in The New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday.
The adult participants took a self-administered dried blood spot test between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2022 and sent the blood samples back to the researchers for analysis. The research team then tested the samples for antibodies related to COVID-19.
From those results, the researchers found nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults were infected during the first Omicron wave of infections compared with roughly 10 per cent who had been infected in the previous four waves.
Reservations down at Alberta Parks campsites ahead of May long weekend
Dylan Short, Calgary Herald
Reservations at Alberta Parks campsites are down this year heading into the May long weekend and the unofficial start of the summer camping season.
Nancy MacDonald, interim executive director of visitor experience and business supports for Alberta Parks, said openings remained at 66 of 95 campgrounds as of Wednesday afternoon. On the Wednesday before the long weekend last year, there were openings at 30 out of the 95 sites.
“This year, now that people have some more options — they can leave the province and we’re moving to a different level of COVID sensitivity — we certainly have less reservations than we experienced at this point last year,” said MacDonald. “So we certainly encourage anybody who’s still thinking about going camping this weekend to take a look at reserving at albertaparks.ca.”
MacDonald said aside from eased COVID restrictions, she believes changes made to the reservation system itself are contributing to the added availability. Alberta Parks opened its online reservation system year-round earlier this year, rather than just for the summer months. The number of nights available to be booked in each reservation dropped to 10, down from 16, and a fee to change reservations after they were made was introduced.
Letter of the day
New law needed for crimes while intoxicated
Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has handed any rapist or wife-beater the means to escape any consequences by effectively asserting that “It’s not my fault, the devil made me do it,” we hope that Parliament will move swiftly to remedy the impact of this technically legal but dreadful-in-its-societal-impact decision.
If it can be proved that the person was blatantly psychotic at the time, the insanity defence should hold. However, if a psychotic person is “off their meds” or if an adult ingests a substance that they knew or ought to have known carries a clear risk of disinhibition, they must be held accountable for the outcome of their actions.
One would hope that the person could at least be held accountable for criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death. We do the same with someone driving a car. The sentence then imposed could reflect all the variables involved thereby resulting in a lesser or harsher sentence, so that true justice could be achieved.
We can only hope that in today’s days of posturing politics and endless virtue signalling, that Parliament will quickly get down to the root of this perpetual problem and come up with a long overdue solution of real substance.
Dennis Brown, Edmonton
We invite you to write letters to the editor. A maximum of 150 words is preferred. Letters must carry a first and last name, or two initials and a last name, and include an address and daytime telephone number. All letters are subject to editing. We don’t publish letters addressed to others or sent to other publications. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alberta reports 55 deaths, test positivity rates continue to decline
Kellen Taniguchi, Edmonton Journal
Alberta reported on Tuesday a continued drop in COVID-19 test positivity rates over the past week and an average of nine deaths per day.
Health Minister Jason Copping said it’s the third week in a row that PCR test positivity rates have declined. The province reported a weekly average test positivity rate of 19.9 per cent from May 10-16, compared to 23 per cent last week and 25.9 per cent the week before.
“There are more signs over the past week that we’re putting the BA.2 wave behind us,” Copping said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.
Copping said wastewater data is also showing a drop in COVID-19 with levels in most centres “declining or fluctuating” at levels well below the BA.1 wave peak. He said wastewater levels in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer are showing a wide range of variation but are continuing to trend down.
He said it makes sense for larger centres to take longer to drop due to the higher population density.
N.Korea mobilizes army, steps up tracing amid COVID wave
SEOUL — North Korea has mobilized its military to distribute COVID medications and deployed more than 10,000 health workers to help trace potential patients as it fights a sweeping coronavirus wave, state media outlet KCNA said on Tuesday.
The isolated country is grappling with its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak, which it confirmed last week, fueling concerns over a major crisis due to a lack of vaccines and adequate medical infrastructure.
The state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters reported 269,510 more people with fever, bringing the total to 1.48 million, while the death toll grew by six to 56 as of Monday evening, KCNA said. It did not say how many people had tested positive for COVID-19.
The country has not started mass vaccinations and has limited testing capabilities, raising concerns that it may be difficult to assess how widely and rapidly the disease is spreading and verify the number of confirmed cases and deaths.
“The numbers are simply unreliable, but the sheer numbers of people having fever are worrisome,” said Lee Jae-gap, a professor of infectious diseases at South Korea’s Hallym University School of Medicine.
He said that the death count would surge over time, but that Pyongyang might be tempted to keep the publicly available numbers low to avoid a political crisis.
“I don’t think the North Korean regime can afford to release any surging death toll, which would sour public sentiment.”
U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer’s COVID booster shot for young children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the regulator said on Tuesday.
The authorization makes everyone in the United States aged five and above eligible for booster doses of the vaccine, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needs to sign off on the shots.
Children below the age of five are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the Omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.
The U.S. government has been urging Americans to get boosters, and for the unvaccinated who are at much higher risk of severe COVID-19 and death to be inoculated.
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