COVID-19 Mini-UPDATE – March 11, 2021

As of March 11, 2021 Alberta Health confirmed 364 new cases since March 10.

There are 57 new cases in the North Zone since March 10.

There has been 1 death recorded in the North Zone since March 10.

11,612 cases have recovered in the North Zone which holds at 93% of the cases.

91,000 Albertans have been fully vaccinated.

New pilot program for schools

Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, announced today that a pilot program using rapid testing to help control outbreaks will be introduced into two schools in Calgary. The hope is that by early detection, the COVID virus will be quicker to control and will offer insight into rapid testing use.

More than 100,000 kits will be made available for this pilot program. Rapid tests will be offered every week for up to three weeks to screen students with no symptoms.

One school from both the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District will participate. The specific locations have not yet been selected.

Results from the first three weeks of the pilot will inform how the pilot program can be successfully expanded to include more schools and regions in the weeks ahead.

“We are piloting rapid testing in schools with outbreaks as part of our commitment to safely continue in-person learning. Rapid testing can possibly offer a close to real-time check on the situation in an entire school experiencing an outbreak. Every day a student is able to attend school in-person is a win during the pandemic.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

A testing team will set up at each participating school. Staff must sign a consent form and students must have a consent form signed by their parents or guardians to get tested.

This pilot program will help to determine the effectiveness of using rapid screening tests to manage outbreaks in schools. It will also evaluate the benefits of using rapid tests to reduce the risk of transmission in schools experiencing outbreaks by quickly identifying individuals who may have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.

Students and staff who get a positive result after a rapid test will not be able to return to class and will isolate. Positive results from rapid tests are considered preliminary and must be confirmed with an additional PCR test at an Alberta Health Services assessment centre. Rapid tests results may be available at the school within an hour.

Concern of blood clots due to vaccination

Dr. Hinshaw raised the concern about people experiencing blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccination in Europe. She noted that the discovery of the anomaly occurred in a place of high volume vaccination and that the batch that seemed concerning has been pulled. She assured the public that her team has been closely monitoring information about vaccines and their effects and that blood clots are a rare occurrence.

AstraZeneca COVID‐19 Vaccine (manufactured by AstraZeneca) and COVISHIELD (manufactured by Serum Institute of India) are ChAdOx1-S recombinant vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Health Canada has reviewed the manufacturing information for these vaccines and found them to be comparable. Alberta is administering COVISHIELD.

Nearly 1M rapid tests distributed across Alberta

News Release

More than 924,000 rapid tests are being used to help protect workers, students and vulnerable Albertans from COVID-19.

Rapid tests will support screening programs to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks at a wide range of businesses and sectors:

  • 325,000 tests to Suncor, Syncrude and CNRL
  • 267,000 to long-term care, designated supportive living and hospice facilities
  • 100,000 for a new pilot program offering rapid tests in schools
  • 100,000 to rural and remote hospitals, assessment centres and other health care sites
  • 76,000 to WestJet
  • 56,000 to various other industries and groups across the province

Thousands of additional rapid tests will be deployed to more businesses and service providers in the coming weeks.

“We continue to aggressively expand our use of rapid testing. These tests are a vital tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and breaking the chains of transmission. We will continue expanding the rollout and hope to offer many, many more tests to other businesses and sectors in the coming days.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Long-term care and designated supportive living

Since February, rapid tests have been shipped to all 366 AHS-contracted long-term care and designated supportive living sites. Rapid screening supports but does not replace other health measures in place at each facility.

All other licensed supportive living accommodations for seniors and other Albertans are being offered rapid tests to protect anyone living and working within these facilities. Health officials are reviewing applications and expect to ship thousands of additional devices in the next few weeks.

Workplace screening

Rapid tests have been deployed to help more businesses implement employee screening programs across the province.

This includes programs that will protect thousands of workers in the oil and gas, banking, telecommunications and transportation sectors.

Rapid tests will be used in Cargill High River’s screening program over the next several months, and discussions are underway to provide tests to other interested meat-processing plants to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Hospitals, shelters and other settings

Diagnostic rapid tests have also been deployed at:

  • 38 COVID-19 assessment centres
  • 62 hospitals
  • Seven homeless shelters
  • Mobile testing facilities, including those offering tests to residents and staff of long-term care and designated supportive living, and industrial outbreak sites including the Olymel meat processing facility in Red Deer.

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Variant Cases in Alberta

LocationB.1.1.7 (UK variant)B.1.351 (South African variant)Total
In Alberta760
(39 on March 10)
15
(2 on March 10)
775
Calgary Zone27813291
Edmonton Zone3182320
Central Zone1420142
South Zone16016
North Zone606
Unknown000

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School status classification

Updated reporting took effect January 18, 2021 on the School Status Map.

March 11, 2021

There are 17 ALERTS for the North Zone.

There are 8 OUTBREAKS (5-9 cases) for the North Zone.

There are 7 OUTBREAKS (10+) for the North Zone.

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There are 137,137 reported cases in Alberta, and 1,933 deaths in Alberta (983 in Edmonton zone, 594 in Calgary Zone, 141 in North Zone, 117 in the Central Zone, 98 in the South Zone). Of the 137,137 cases, 259 are in the hospital including 38 in ICU (Intensive Care). 130,716 cases have recovered, which holds at 97% of the cases in Alberta. The Positivity Rate is 4.0%.

There are 4,488 active cases in Alberta. Calgary:1,654, Edmonton:1,147, North:813, South:438, Central:431, Unknown:5.

There have been 5 deaths recorded for Alberta since March 10. Of the 5 deaths: 1 in the North Zone, 1 in the South Zone, and 3 in the Edmonton Zone.

We are your community news. smokyriverexpress.com . Past updates can be found under the COVID-19 tab on our website. If there is information that you would like to see, please make a comment.

For a list of resources for Albertans during the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis click here.

March 11, 2021 live update by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta chief medical officer of health. Announcement by Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, and Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro.

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