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.
As Alberta continues to navigate the unpredictable waves of COVID-19, we’re looking to hear your stories on this evolving situation.
“It’s a stunning outcome,” Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said in an interview.
“We’re talking about a staggering number of lives saved and hospitalizations prevented. And of course, if you deploy this quickly after infection, we are likely to reduce transmission dramatically,” Dolsten said.
Alberta reported 863 more COVID-19 cases and three deaths in the province since Friday.
Case data updated Monday includes 373 on Friday, 288 on Saturday and 202 on Sunday. Serious cases dipped slightly with 357 patients treated in hospital for the disease, including 68 in ICU, as of Monday.
Active cases sat at 4,182 province-wide including 1,264 in the Edmonton Zone and 1,732 in the Calgary Zone.
Of all Albertans, 78 per cent have had one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine while 72.2 per cent have had two. For people 12 and up, 89.2 per cent have had one dose while 84.8 per cent have had two.
Nearly three months into Alberta’s restriction exemption program, Edmonton police say no reports of falsified vaccine records have been made.
The program, which requires proof of doubled-dose of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours, or a medical exemption for patrons 12 and over was implemented on Sept. 20, beginning with a paper copy of vaccine record. On Nov. 15, the province made it so only a paper or digital copy of a vaccine record with a QR code was acceptable.
In a statement, Edmonton police spokeswoman Carolin Maran said the restrictions exemption program is part of a public health order, and complaints, follow-ups and enforcement are conducted by public health inspectors.
“The only time the EPS directly responds is if there’s imminent risk to public safety or if the inspectors require our assistance due to safety concerns,” police said. “Since the REP was implemented, EPS assistance has not been requested to date.”
An Alberta-based labour and employment lawyer expects cases challenging COVID-19 vaccine mandates to increase as Albertans get back to work, but whether they are successful remains to be seen.
Frank Molnar, of Field Law, said the country is at the early stages of case law regarding vaccine mandates, with three arbitration-decisions currently out of Ontario. But, he believes there will “absolutely” be more cases brought forward, and in a variety of forms.
“I think you’re gonna see grievances under collective agreements. Probably the first ones will be policy grievances,” he said.
“You might see some individual grievances. You may see some individuals suing for wrongful dismissal that were terminated because they did not comply with the policy.”
There may also be cases of “constructive dismissal,” where an individual could argue they never agreed to a policy and the employer is “forcing” it on them, Molnar said.
“I expect that we’ll see some decisions dealing with these claims down the road,” Molnar said. “It takes a long time for these matters to go to the court, so I expect there will be some time before we get some wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal cases that have been decided.”
He noted there have not been any human rights decisions yet over mandatory vaccines. However, there have been complaint dismissals over mandatory face mask use, which has provided some guidance.
“There were retail environments where individuals have refused to wear a mask and they filed a human rights complaint, and all of those complaints have been dismissed,” Molnar said.
“It doesn’t mean that ultimately, someone could not file a successful human rights complaint. It’s just that the ones that were filed just didn’t meet the test.”
There are three units currently declaring COVID-19 outbreaks at Grey Nuns Community Hospital
An outbreak was declared on Nov. 29, on one acute care inpatient unit. To date, one indivicual has tested positive for COVID-19.
In another unit, an outbreak was also declared on Nov. 29 in an acute care inpatient unit. To date, five individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. One death is associated with this outbreak.
On Nov. 30 another unit declared an outbreak on one acute care inpatient unit. To date, one individual has tested positive for COVID-19.
You can find a list of all AHS and Covenant Health acute care facilities experiencing outbreaks on the Alberta Health Services website .
The sudden arrival of the Omicron variant is a stark reminder of the global nature of the COVID pandemic. To end this pandemic, we must protect everyone — everywhere — from COVID-19. This means addressing vaccine inequity around the world. UNICEF is the global leader in vaccine delivery and has been tasked with procuring and delivering two billion COVID vaccines to low-income countries.
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