The Emergency Department at Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Hospital at the height of the E. coli outbreak, Sept 7, 2023
As hospital admissions and daily numbers of new E. coli cases continue to decline, health officials are seeing signs that the initial outbreak that affected several Calgary daycares has peaked.
The number of secondary transmissions connected to this outbreak remains low, indicating there is limited transmission of the E. coli bacteria beyond the initial outbreak.
The kitchen connected with the original outbreak remains closed indefinitely. In addition, precautionary measures at specific daycare facilities remain in place. Parents and operators have been made aware of these measures directly and through communication with Alberta Health Services.
“I am relieved every time I hear of a child who is well enough to leave hospital. My heart goes out to each family member who has been impacted, and I want them to know that we will get to the bottom of this. Thank you as well to our front-line staff for supporting these children and their families on the road to recovery.”
“Families have had their lives turned upside down by this outbreak. I’m relieved many of them are seeing their children recover and start to get back to their normal routines. I want to reassure parents they can place their trust in our high-quality child-care system and that they are not alone. We are here to support them in any way we can.”
“We are cautiously optimistic that the outbreak has peaked and that we will continue to see case numbers drop. That said, this does not diminish the fact that we still have some children who remain very ill, and my heart goes out to them, their parents and their loved ones.”
Hospitalizations and cases
As of Sept.19, there were a total of 348 lab-confirmed cases connected to this outbreak, no increase from Sept. 18. Between Sept. 9 and Sept. 14, there was an average increase of 33 new cases a day. Since then, the average case numbers decreased to fewer than four a day to no increase on Sept. 19.
There have been a total of 27 lab-confirmed secondary cases, with no additional secondary cases confirmed, since Sept. 16. Some cases of secondary transmission are common and expected in significant outbreaks such as this.
Currently eight patients are receiving care in hospital, down one from Sept. 18. All these patients have been confirmed as having hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), including two on dialysis (a decrease of one since Sept. 18). All patients are in stable condition and responding to treatment. Front-line health care teams continue to provide the best care and support possible.
A total of 707 children connected to the outbreak have been cleared to return to a daycare facility.
As of Sept. 19, six daycare facilities are under closure or partial closure orders:
- Active Start Country Hills – Dolphin and Starfish preschool classes
- CanCare Childcare – Scenic Acres location – Busy Bees, Bumble Bees and Butterflies classrooms
- CEFA Early Learning Calgary South – JK 3-1 classroom
- Renert Junior Kindergarten – all four Junior K classrooms
- 1st Class Childcare Shawnessy – “Main daycare” area is being closed
- Calgary JCC Child Care – a closure order was issued for infant and toddler rooms on Sept. 15
Closure orders were rescinded for Classrooms 3 and 4 at Vik Academy on the afternoon of Sept. 18 following negative test results for E. coli.
Additionally, while MTC Daycare site is not being closed, affected children and staff in Prominade and McKenzie classrooms are being notified that they are excluded from attending all child-care facilities until they test negative for E. coli and remain symptom-free.
All closure orders are posted on the Calgary Zone Alberta Health Services website.
Initial results suggest these cases affecting additional daycare facilities are predominantly cases of secondary transmission. Either these new cases were in contact with children from the original daycare or children from the original daycares were in contact with the facility.
Parents and staff from all the daycare facilities involved are being provided with information about what to do if they experience symptoms, test positive or have concerns about the health and safety of their child.
The public health investigation into this outbreak continues, and work continues to identify the source of the outbreak. Additionally, the ministries of Health and Children and Family Services are conducting a review of all shared kitchens serving child-care facilities across Alberta.
The food histories of more than 1,150 children and 250 daycare staff are being reviewed by public health officials. This includes those who became ill and those who did not, all of whom were at the 11 affected daycares between Aug. 15 and Aug. 31.
Guidance to parents
If children develop symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, families are encouraged to visit an emergency department. If a child is not symptomatic, do not take them to hospital. Families with concerns or questions can call Health Link at 8-1-1 or contact their family physician for advice and support.
In addition, Alberta’s government is providing families with a one-time payment of $2,000 per child enrolled in the original facilities that were closed due to the outbreak.
Alberta’s government is committed to working with parents and operators through this challenging time and encourage them to reach out to Child Care Connect at 1-844-644-5165 with questions or concerns.
- Supporting Those affected by the E. coli Outbreak (Sept. 15, 2023)
- Update on E. coli outbreak in Calgary (Sept. 12, 2023)
- Alberta Health Services – E. coli Outbreak
Canada’s food costs expected to increase by $700 per family in 2024: report
‘When Trudeau’s carbon tax makes it more expensive for farmers to grow food and truckers to deliver food, his carbon tax makes it more expensive for families to buy food’
A new report estimates that food costs for a family of four in Canada will increase by $700 in 2024 amid the ongoing carbon tax and rising inflation.
On November 27, researchers from Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of British Columbia published Canada’s Food Price Report 2024, which reveals that food prices will only rise in 2024.
“The current rate for food price increases is within the predicted range at 5.9% according to the latest available CPI data,” the report stated. The report further revealed that the increases are expected to be less than in 2023.
According to the research, the total grocery bill for a family of four in 2024 is projected to be $16,297.20, which is a $701.79 increase from last year.
Bakery, meat, and vegetables are expected to see a 5% to 7% increase, while dairy and fruit prices are projected to ride 1-3%. Restaurant and seafood costs are estimated to increase 3-5%.
The report further revealed that, “Canadians are spending less on food this year despite inflation,” instead choosing either to buy less food or to buy poorer quality of food.
“Food retail sales data indicates a decline from a monthly spend of $261.24 per capita in August 2022 to a monthly spend of $252.89 per capita in August 2023, indicating that Canadians are reducing their expenditures on groceries, either by reducing the quantity or quality of food they are buying or by substituting less expensive alternatives,” it continued.
In addition to food prices, the report found that “household expenses like rent and utilities are also increasing year over year.”
“A recent report by TransUnion found that the average Canadian has a credit card bill of $4,000 and a 4.2% increase in household debt compared to last year, all of which are possible contributors to reduced food expenditures for Canadians,” it continued.
Canadian Taxpayer Federation Director Franco Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews, “The carbon tax makes grocery prices more expensive.”
“When Trudeau’s carbon tax makes it more expensive for farmers to grow food and truckers to deliver food, his carbon tax makes it more expensive for families to buy food,” he explained.
“The carbon tax will cost Canadian farmers $1 billion by 2030,” Terrazzano added. “The government could make groceries more affordable for Canadians by scrapping the carbon tax.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre referenced the report, blaming the increased prices on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies, saying, “EVERYTHING is more expensive after 8 years of Trudeau. He’s not worth the cost.”
EVERYTHING is more expensive after 8 years of Trudeau.
He's not worth the cost. pic.twitter.com/0tCwaRJHwC
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) December 7, 2023
The report should not come as a surprise to Canadians considering a September report by Statistics Canada revealing that food prices are rising faster than the headline inflation rate – the overall inflation rate in the country – as staple food items are increasing at a rate of 10 to 18 percent year-over-year.
Despite numerous reports indicating Canadians are experiencing financial hardship, the Trudeau government has largely ignored the pleas of those asking for help, while consistently denying their policies have any impact on inflation or the economy more broadly.
Trudeau has continued to refuse to extend the carbon tax exemption to all forms of home heating, instead only giving relief to Liberal voting provinces.
The carbon tax, framed as a way to reduce carbon emissions, has cost Canadians hundreds more annually despite rebates.
The increased costs are only expected to rise, as a recent report revealed that a carbon tax of more than $350 per tonne is needed to reach Trudeau’s net-zero goals by 2050.
Currently, Canadians living in provinces under the federal carbon pricing scheme pay $65 per tonne, but the Trudeau government has a goal of $170 per tonne by 2030.
The Trudeau government’s current environmental goals – which are in lockstep with the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” – include phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing fertilizer usage, and curbing natural gas use over the coming decades.
The reduction and eventual elimination of so-called “fossil fuels” and a transition to unreliable “green” energy has also been pushed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) – the globalist group behind the socialist “Great Reset” agenda in which Trudeau and some of his cabinet are involved.
However, some western provinces have declared they will not follow the regulations but instead focus on the wellbeing of Canadians.
Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have repeatedly promised to place the interests of their people above the Trudeau government’s “unconstitutional” demands, while consistently reminding the federal government that their infrastructures and economies depend upon oil, gas, and coal.
“We will never allow these regulations to be implemented here, full stop,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith recently declared. “If they become the law of the land, they would crush Albertans’ finances, and they would also cause dramatic increases in electricity bills for families and businesses across Canada.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has likewise promised to fight back against Trudeau’s new regulations, saying recently that “Trudeau’s net-zero electricity regulations are unaffordable, unrealistic and unconstitutional.”
“They will drive electricity rates through the roof and leave Saskatchewan with an unreliable power supply. Our government will not let the federal government do that to the Saskatchewan people,” he charged.
APP Update: Chief Actuary of Canada to provide opinion on Alberta’s share of CPP assets
Alberta Pension Plan engagement
The Alberta Pension Plan Engagement Panel is giving the office of the chief actuary of Canada some time to release findings before scheduling new public sessions.
This fall, the Alberta Pension Plan Engagement Panel, led by former provincial treasurer Jim Dinning, invited Albertans to discuss the findings of an independent report on a potential provincial pension plan. The panel has been collecting feedback from Albertans since then, with more than 76,000 Albertans participating in five telephone town hall sessions and more than 94,000 Albertans completing the online survey. The first phase of the engagement is now complete, and the panel will now analyze what it has heard from Albertans so far.
“Albertans can rest assured that their voices have been heard and that’s why I tabled the Alberta Pension Protection Act, which provides Albertans with certainty that their pension contributions are safe and that we will not proceed with a provincial plan without their say through a referendum. This is a complex process and one that we do not take lightly.”
During this first phase of engagement, it quickly became clear that Albertans wanted more precise information on the value of the asset transfer Alberta would be entitled to receive if it were to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan. While the LifeWorks report was able to provide a reasonable asset transfer value by relying on publicly available data, determining a more precise number requires analysis from the federal government.
Following discussions between Canada’s finance ministers, the federal finance minister has committed to asking the chief actuary of Canada to provide an opinion on Alberta’s share of the CPP assets. Alberta’s government is hopeful that this work can be completed promptly so that Albertans can have as much information as possible as they consider the possibility of a new plan. To that end, the panel has decided to give the chief actuary of Canada some time to release their findings before scheduling new public engagement sessions.
Albertans continue to have the opportunity to participate in the conversation by reading the information on AlbertaPensionPlan.ca and completing the online workbook.
“We are pleased with how many Albertans we have reached with our consultations to date. The LifeWorks report presents an opportunity worth exploring and Albertans have answered that call, but what we’ve heard loud and clear is that they want to hear how the federal government calculates the asset transfer number. We will start the next round of public meetings when we have more clarity on that number, but in the meantime, we encourage everyone to have a look at our workbook and provide feedback there.”
Throughout this entire process Alberta’s government committed to ensuring the most-up-to-date information is provided to Albertans.
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