Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Dec. 6

Calgary·THE LATESTThe number of people in Alberta confirmed to have the omicron variant of concern has increased to 11.Albertans 60 and older are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine starting MondayCBC News · Posted: Dec 06, 2021 9:25 AM MT | Last Updated: 39 minutes agoThomas Banack is pictured receiving the Covishield/AstraZeneca vaccine in Camrose, Alta., on March 11. Albertans 60 and older are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine starting Monday. (AHS)The latest COVID-19 numbers:  The number of people in Alberta confirmed with the omicron variant of COVID-19 has jumped to 11 as of Monday, up from four on Friday. Early Monday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, tweeted there were 12 cases but later revised it to 11. Omicron was named a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Its emergence has prompted the return of border closures, travel restrictions and stricter testing requirements across the world. Hinshaw said earlier in the day that all but one of the confirmed cases in Alberta have been among returning travellers, and the remaining a household contact, with all reporting only mild symptoms and recovering at home. Some household members of those diagnosed with the variant have tested positive for COVID-19, but omicron has not been confirmed, Hinshaw said. One household contact recently attended an elementary school in Alberta Health Services’ north zone and one attended a high school, Hinshaw said. Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping said at a press conference at the University of Calgary on Monday that the province is watching the variant very closely and will see if more measures are needed based on Hinshaw’s advice. New COVID-19 numbers from the weekend are expected to be reported by the province on Monday afternoon. CBC Calgary and CBC Edmonton will publish them online. The Alberta government reported Monday: There were 187 new COVID cases over the weekend. The total number of active cases in Alberta is 4,374. Alberta Health says there are 366 people with COVID in hospital, including 72 in intensive care.  The province recorded five new deaths over the weekend. A total of 3,263 Albertans have died of COVID since the pandemic began. 329,543 Albertans are considered to have recovered. There are active alerts or outbreaks in 131 schools. Alberta is reporting an R-value below 1. The R-value is the average number of COVID-19 infections transmitted by each diagnosed case. An R-value below 1.0 means transmission is no longer growing. Provincewide, the R-value for Nov. 8 to 28 was 0.88, with a confidence interval between 0.84 and 0.91. The R-value for the Edmonton zone is 0.95, and in Calgary, 0.90. In the rest of Alberta the rate is 0.80. In response to falling COVID-19 numbers across the province, the government generally only gives live media updates once a week and otherwise posts daily numbers online. The latest on vaccines: Alberta is in the process of expanding access to vaccine booster shots to all Albertans ages 18 and older, six months out from their second dose of the vaccine, starting with select groups. It opened up to those 60 and older starting Monday (Dec. 6).​​​​​​ The first groups to be eligible for a third dose as of Nov. 8 were people 70 or older, First Nations, Métis and Inuit residents and frontline health-care workers.  The province says bookings for all adults over the age of 18 will open by early next year.  As of Dec. 6,  71 per cent of the province’s total population — or 76 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages five years and older) — have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Out of the province’s total population, 76 per cent have received at least one dose, or 81 per cent of (ages 5 and over), according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.  That compares with 80 per cent of the total population Canada-wide that have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 76 per cent of the total population who are fully vaccinated. Among those eligible, 84 per cent have had one dose and 80 per cent are fully vaccinated. The percentage of eligible people in Alberta who are vaccinated dropped on Nov. 26, when children between the ages of five to 11 were added to the population of those eligible. Children’s COVID-19 vaccination appointments began Nov. 26 between the ages of 5 and 11, dropping. They’re being delivered to 120 vaccination clinics (not in schools). Hinshaw said on Dec. 1 that she had heard of a “concerning trend” of parents withdrawing consent for all vaccines at schools because they were worried their children could receive a COVID-19 vaccine without their knowledge.  “I want to be crystal clear that no child will receive any vaccine in school without their parent or guardian’s consent and knowledge,” Hinshaw said.  Children who live on a First Nations reserve can access doses through nursing stations or public health clinics. Regardless of whether they are vaccinated, children ages five to 11 will not be subject to Alberta’s restrictions exemption program (see below). Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 cannot board a plane or train in Canada as of Nov. 30, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people. Alberta’s vaccine record now meets the recommended Canadian standard for domestic and international travel. The Alberta government is now advising that anyone between the ages of 12 and 29 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rather than Moderna. The province said Nov. 23 it is now recommending an eight-week interval between mRNA vaccines. The Alberta government imposed the restrictions exemption program, a voluntary vaccine passport system, as of Sept. 20 to combat a disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19. As of Nov. 15, anyone wanting to enter a business taking part in the program must present proof of vaccination that includes a QR code. For those over 18, valid identification matching that record is also required. Operators who are eligible for the program, but opt not to take part have to follow measures that include capacity limits and physical distancing. As of Nov. 29, ski hills could operate outdoor activities without implementing the program. Masking are still be required in enclosed areas. Ski hill operators can implement the program for indoor areas to permit indoor dining and other activities. A full list of restrictions and exemptions is available on the government’s website.  The City of Calgary’s state of local emergency expired on Dec. 2. However, the vaccine passport bylaw and face covering bylaw remain in place. On  Nov. 15, Calgary city council voted unanimously in favour of extending the city’s mandatory vaccination policy for staff to include citizen members appointed to boards, commissions and committees. As of Dec. 1, those who are not vaccinated are required to continue to participate in the rapid testing program on their own time and at their own expense. Alberta public sector workers will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The policy, approved by the province’s COVID-19 cabinet committee will affect 25,500 provincial employees who must all submit proof of full vaccination by Nov. 30. AHS extended a deadline for employees, medical and midwifery staff, students, volunteers and contracted healthcare providers to comply with its mandatory immunization policy until Dec. 13. The latest on surgeries, hospitals, mask bylaws and more: ​​​​​​ AHS has begun administering a new monoclonal antibody treatment that was recently approved by Health Canada, Hinshaw said on Nov. 9. Sotrovimab is a new drug developed for treating patients with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms. It is the first treatment to be offered to outpatients in Alberta. See which regions are being hit hardest: Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of active cases, as reported by the province on Monday: Calgary zone: 1,748 Edmonton zone: 1,225 North zone: 566 Central zone: 530 South zone: 297 Unknown: 8 Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories: Report Typo or Error|Corrections and Clarifications

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