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Alberta

Indoor masking is back – Province taking action to reduce hospitalizations

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Further actions to protect health system from COVID-19

Due to increasing COVID-19 transmission and rising hospital admissions, overwhelmingly amongst unvaccinated Albertans, temporary measures are needed to reduce transmission and prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed.

Currently, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospital are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care.

“Vaccines are safe, effective, and a game-changer. This is why the current wave is different than what we’ve experienced before. While we do not need to return to the same widespread and dramatic measures we had in place earlier in the pandemic, unvaccinated Albertans in particular are still at risk and are placing a heavy load on our health-care system. This is why we are taking measured steps and introducing a new incentive program to encourage more Albertans to get the jab.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“As I have always done, I use the best currently available evidence from Alberta and around the world to inform my recommendations to protect the health of Albertans. With hospitalization rates rising, it is important that we take additional steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. My ultimate goal continues to be to shift from pandemic to endemic and put more focus on the complete health of Albertans – we must learn to live with COVID. Getting vaccinated today is the best possible way for us to get there.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

New vaccine incentive program

A one-time incentive of $100 is now available for all Albertans age 18 or older who receive a first or second dose of vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.

This incentive is intended to encourage unvaccinated Albertans to get protected as soon as possible.

After vaccination, eligible Albertans will be able to register online. Alberta Health will validate registrations against provincial immunization data. This website will be available starting on Sept. 13. If Albertans do not have access to a computer, they can contact 310-0000 for assistance, starting on Sept. 13.

Temporary measures

  • The province will make masks mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces starting Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
  • Also, as of Sept. 4 at 8 a.m., restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments will be required to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.
  • In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. To support this, the province strongly recommends that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.
  • It is also recommended that employers pause their plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work-from-home measures. If employees are working on location, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.

Additional vaccine incentives

All Albertans who have received two doses of vaccine and are aged 18 and over are eligible for the remaining $1-million draw for the Open for Summer Lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/lottery. The final draw closes Sept. 23.

Fully protected Albertans are also eligible to enter the Outdoor Adventure vaccine lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/outdoor-adventure-vaccine-lottery.aspx. The lottery closes Sept. 9.

Book an appointment and get vaccinated

All Albertans can book appointments via AHS online or by calling 811, or through participating pharmacies. Walk-in appointments for first doses are also available. For schedule and locations, visit ahs.ca/vaccine.

Updated modelling

Based on information available in mid-August, an updated projection of estimated COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to the end of September was developed. Current actual data is trending toward the high end of the projections, therefore numbers may exceed the projections. Peaks in the model are only estimates, and actual peaks may be higher and later than anticipated if current growth trends continue.

This provincial modelling shows intensive care unit patients could possibly peak at around 180 in the medium scenario, although if accelerating trends continue, numbers could reach or exceed the currently projected high scenario at 290.

Other hospitalizations (non-ICU) are currently trending toward the high scenario, with a potential peak of 700 in the next several weeks. If the high scenario peaks are reached, this would mean a greater combined impact on the acute care system than in all previous waves, and if changes in transmission cause greater spread, these numbers could be exceeded.

Modelling is for the entire province. Some regions will experience different case and hospitalization statistics per capita; this will particularly be expected in those areas with lower rates of vaccinations.

Modelling is a dynamic process where there are constant comparisons against observations versus projections. When these comparisons deviate, the model assumptions are re-evaluated, which may change with new information such as outbreak events.

This modelling is now available online. A separate evidence summary has also been posted, including key assumptions and considerations, hospital impact modelling that was developed in June to inform changes announced in late July, and a reference list for further reading.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

CPL Roundup: Cavalry extends undefeated streak with 2-1 win over Pacific

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CALGARY — Cavalry FC kept its spot atop the Canadian Premier League standings with a 2-1 win over Pacific FC on Thursday. 

Daan Klomp opened the scoring for Cavalry (12-5-8) in the 6th minute and David Norman Jr. doubled the lead with a goal in the 71st. 

Sean Young scored in the 89th for Pacific, who sit in second spot with a 12-7-6 record.

Pacific’s Callum Irving stopped two of the four shots he faced while Cavalry ‘keeper Marco Carducci conceded the lone on-target shot the visitors managed across 90 minutes of play. 

Cavalry is undefeated in six outings, with a 3-3-0 record across the stretch. 

Each side has three games to play in the regular-season schedule. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Regulator lays charges against Tidewater Midstream for acidic water release

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CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator has laid charges against Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. for a release of acidic water in west-central Alberta.

The regulator says the release occurred in Oct. 2019 at Tidewater’s Ram River sour gas processing plant near Rocky Mountain House. 

It says the acidic water flowed into a nearby creek.

Calgary-based Tidewater has been charged with 10 violations under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, including releasing a substance to the environment that caused or may have caused an adverse effect. 

The regulator also alleges that Tidewater failed to report the release of the acidic water as soon as possible, and failed to take all reasonable measures to repair and remedy the spill.

Tidewater is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 8 in Rocky Mountain House.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 21, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TWM)

The Canadian Press

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