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Alberta

What are the new COVID19 measures and who do they effect?

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Can we have dinner with our close friend?  What exactly is a Cohort anyway?   Is it true that we can go swimming even though we can’t play hockey?

We pulled this information From Alberta.ca to help make sense of the new health measures in the areas of Alberta most affected by COVID19.

From the Province of Alberta

Who is affected?

Targeted measures apply to all communities on the enhanced list (purple zones)  plus affected communities in the Calgary area and the Edmonton area.
All purple zone areas Calgary Area1 Edmonton Area1 Fort McMurray Grande Prairie Lethbridge Red Deer
No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
15-person limit on family & social gatherings Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Limit of 3 cohorts, plus child care Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mask use encouraged in all indoor workplaces Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Employers in office settings to reduce employees in the workplace at one time Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Restaurants/pubs stop liquor sales by 10pm, close by 11pm (Nov 13-27) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ban on indoor group fitness classes & team sports (Nov 13-27) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ban on group singing, dancing & performing activities (Nov 13-27) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
50-person limit on wedding and funeral services (indoor & outdoor) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

How are we affected?

The main enhanced measure is gathering restrictions

A gathering is any situation that brings people together in the same space at the same time for the same purpose. Check with your municipality for additional restrictions in your area.

New gathering limits for all communities on the enhanced measures list

  • Stop holding social gatherings in private homes or outside your community
  • 15 person limit on indoor and outdoor social and family gatherings
  • 50 person limit on wedding ceremonies and funeral services
  • Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity
  • Do not move social gatherings to communities with no restrictions.
  • Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other business that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.

Unless otherwise identified in public health orders, these gathering restrictions are in place:

  • 200 people max for outdoor audience-type community events
  • 100 people max for outdoor social gatherings and indoor seated audience events
  • 50 people max for indoor social gatherings
  • No cap for worship gatherings, restaurant, cafes, lounges and bars, casinos and bingo halls, trade shows and exhibits (with public health measures in place)
  • keep 2 metres apart from people outside your cohort
  • avoid high-risk or prohibited activities
  • stay home and get tested if you are sick

What is a Cohort Group?

A COVID-19 cohort – also known as bubbles, circles, or safe squads – is a small group of the same people who can interact regularly without staying 2 metres apart.

A person in a cohort should avoid close contact with people outside of the cohort. Keeping the same people together, instead of mixing and mingling:

  • helps reduce the chances of getting sick
  • makes it easier to track exposure if someone does get sick

You should only belong to one core cohort.

Cohort types and recommended limits

Limit of 3 cohorts: your core household, your school, and one other sport or social cohort.

Young children who attend child care can be part of 4 cohorts.

What is a Core cohort?

Core cohorts can include your household and up to 15 other people you spend the most time with and are physically close to.

This usually includes people part of your regular routine:

  • household members
  • immediate family
  • closest tightknit social circle
  • people you have regular close contact with (co-parent who lives outside the household, a babysitter or caregiver)

Safety Recommendations

Core cohorts

Everyone in your core cohort should:

  • belong to only one core cohort
  • limit interactions with people outside the cohort
  • keep at least 2 meters from people outside the core cohort
  • wear a mask when closer than 2 metres with others wherever possible

Other cohort groups

When participating in other cohort groups, you should:

  • interact outdoors if possible – it’s safer than indoors
  • avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places and close contact settings
  • be healthy and not show any COVID-19 symptoms (see the full symptom list)
  • have not travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days
  • keep track of where you go, when you are there, and who you meet:
    • this information will be helpful if someone is exposed to COVID-19
    • download the ABTraceTogether app, a mobile contact tracing app that helps to let you know if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 – or if you’ve exposed others – while protecting your privacy

At-risk people

If you are at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and want to participate in a cohort, you should:

  • consider smaller cohorts, and
  • avoid cohorts with people who also participate in sports, performing and child care cohorts to minimize exposure potential

High risk groups include seniors and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes. Find out how to assess your risk.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Care home residents prioritized: Alberta begins second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province has begun giving second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with priority for residents in long-term care homes.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says adjustments are being made on the fly to make sure everyone who has received a first shot gets the booster in the recommended time frame.

Timelines have been put in flux because of delays in shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech, which produces one of two vaccines approved by Health Canada.

Hinshaw says health officials are working to get residents of long-term care and supportive living facilities their second doses within a month of the first shot because they are at high risk.

She says “everything possible” will be done to find second doses for others no later than six weeks after their first shot.

Alberta has given more than 95,000 doses to those considered a high priority, including care-home residents and front-line health workers.

“We are also looking within our available supplies to be able to provide the second dose to all others who have received their first dose within the maximum allowable window of that 42 days,” Hinshaw said Wednesday.

“We are needing to adjust plans.”

Alberta Health says missing the window does not mean the first dose will be ineffective.

“Evidence is still emerging on all the vaccines,” said department spokesman Tom McMillan in a statement.

“There is evidence that the immune response begins to develop within two weeks of the first dose and continues to develop after that. But it is not known how long any protection from a single dose lasts.”

McMillan said the expectation remains that Alberta will be able to deliver the second dose within the window.

But if not, current recipients “would not need to begin the series over. They would simply receive the second dose as soon as available,” he said.

Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this week that no new first doses would be offered for the time being.

Hinshaw reported 669 new COVID cases on Wednesday, with 10,565 active cases. Some 744 people were in hospital, 124 of them in intensive care.

There were 21 more deaths for a total of 1,484.

Alberta first began delivering doses in mid-December from two suppliers, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but is now to receive just over 171,000 this week and nothing next week. Both vaccines require two doses several weeks apart for full effectiveness.

The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing its next phase of priority vaccinations: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older.

Alberta remains under lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues, including casinos and movie theatres, remain shuttered.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

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CALGARY — Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break.

A 2-0-1 start for five points out of a possible six is momentum the Flames will try to carry through their five days off before hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Days off will become precious in Calgary’s 56 games over 115 days, although the Flames weren’t desperate for a breather this early in the schedule.

The time is nevertheless welcome, says head coach Geoff Ward, with a half-dozen new players in the lineup.

“If we had a team that had been together for a long, long time, I’d probably be looking at it maybe not as much of a positive thing as it’s going to be for us,” Ward said Wednesday.

“These days are good for us just with how many new players we’re trying to assimilate into our lineup. 

“It allows us to really reinforce a lot of things, allows us to evaluate more things and allows our players to become more comfortable playing with each other, so this week for us has been real timely.”

Calgary posted two straight home wins over the Vancouver Canucks after opening the season with an overtime loss to the Jets in Winnipeg.

The Flames enjoyed a gentler start to their regular season than Vancouver’s four road games in six days, but Calgary’s heavy lifting starts immediately following the break with nine games in 14 days, including back-to-back games in Winnipeg.

“We’re going into an awful lot of hockey once this break’s over,” Ward said.

Three games is a small sample size, but the Flames can feel encouraged by an abundance of goalscorers and the performance of new goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who was signed in the off-season for US$36 million over six years.

Eight different Flames have put the puck in the net with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk leading the way at two goals apiece.

“When you get some balanced scoring like we have early, it just makes everybody believe a little bit easier,” Ward said.

Gaudreau, Lindholm and Sean Monahan each have four points. 

The emergence of Lindholm, Tkachuk and Dillon Dube as a potent line takes production pressure off of and defensive attention away from Gaudreau and Monahan, who worked well with newcomer Dominik Simon in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Canucks.

Simon, who has spent time on Sidney Crosby’s wing in Pittsburgh, provided the screen for Gaudreau’s first goal of the season and Calgary’s first goal of that game.

“He’s a smart hockey player,” Ward said of Simon. 

“He can think ahead like Johnny and Monny do. There’s a lot of things there that we like about the potential fit of them.”

Markstrom is so far living up to his price tag with a 32-save shutout against his former Canuck teammates in his first outing against them Saturday.

The six-foot-six Swede was a difference-maker Monday when the Flames were outshot 16-4 in the first period.

Calgary’s power play produced six goals on 16 chances for a 37.5 conversion rate, and gave up one short-handed goal. 

The Flames have killed all but one of their opposing teams’ man advantages for a 91.7 success rate.

“Outside of a couple of periods, we liked our work and we liked our compete an awful lot,” Ward said. 

“There’s some areas we can be better in terms of staying with things, producing a little bit more. 

“All in all, we liked how we played on both sides of the puck. Our special teams we’re real happy with.”

The break gives Dube time to heal from whatever lower-body injury took the 22-year-old out of Monday’s game against the Canucks. 

Ward isn’t ruling him out to play Sunday against the Maple Leafs, who face the Flames again two days later at Scotiabank Saddledome.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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