COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for March 23 | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack


Watch this page throughout the day for updates on COVID-19 in Calgary

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Hinshaw, Copping to provide 3:30 p.m. update

Health Minister Jason Copping.
Health Minister Jason Copping. Photo by Ed Kaiser /Postmedia

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Health Minister Jason Copping are scheduled to provide a COVID-19 update at 3:30 p.m. today.

We will have a livestream of the press conference here.


Poll suggests strong majority of Canadians working at home want to keep it that way

Has your life improved since you started working from home? You are not alone. A new poll suggests a majority of Canadians want to keep working from home when the pandemic ends.
Has your life improved since you started working from home? You are not alone. A new poll suggests a majority of Canadians want to keep working from home when the pandemic ends. Getty Images

A strong majority of Canadians prefer working from home and would like to keep it that way even when the pandemic ends, according to a new poll Wednesday.

The Angus Reid Institute poll found 78 per cent said working at home is either “really great” or “good” compared with 18 per cent who said it’s “challenging” and just four per cent who described it as “awful.” More women than men reported working at home as being “great.”

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As well, the survey found very few (22 per cent) Canadians report their work productivity suffers at home.

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Moderna to seek regulatory approval for COVID shot for very young children

In this file photo taken on April 16, 2021, a medical staff member prepares a syringe with a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic at the Jewish Community Center in the Staten Island borough of New York City.
In this file photo taken on April 16, 2021, a medical staff member prepares a syringe with a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic at the Jewish Community Center in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Photo by ANGELA WEISS /AFP via Getty Images

Moderna Inc said on Wednesday it will ask regulators to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 6 years old based on data showing it generated a similar immune response in young children as for adults in its clinical trial.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was predominant during Moderna’s pediatric trial, and the drugmaker said two doses were around 38% effective in preventing infections in 2- to 5-year-olds and 44% effective for children ages 6 months to 2 years.

Moderna said these results were consistent with the lower effectiveness against Omicron seen in adults who had received two doses of its vaccine.

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“People are automatically recalling the 95% (vaccine efficacy) from Pfizer or Moderna early on, and I don’t think those are fair comparisons because Omicron is an immune evasive variant,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Adalja said the vaccine would be especially valuable to children at high risk of severe disease.

Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said in a statement that the company is “working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible.”

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South Korea’s total COVID cases top 10 million as crematoria, funeral homes overwhelmed

People wait in line to undergo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site which is temporarily set up at a public health center in Seoul, South Korea, February 24, 2022.
People wait in line to undergo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site which is temporarily set up at a public health center in Seoul, South Korea, February 24, 2022. Photo by HEO RAN /REUTERS

South Korea’s total coronavirus infections topped 10 million, or nearly 20% of its population, authorities said on Wednesday, as surging severe cases and deaths increasingly put a strain on crematories and funeral homes nationwide.

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The country has been battling a record COVID-19 wave driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant even as it largely scrapped its once aggressive tracing and quarantine efforts and eased social distancing curbs.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 490,881 cases for Tuesday, the second highest daily tally after it peaked at 621,205 on March 16. The total caseload rose to 10,427,247, with 13,432 deaths, up 291 a day before.

The country’s infection and death rates are still far below those recorded elsewhere, as almost 87% of its 52 million residents are fully vaccinated and 63% have received booster shots.

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Tuesday

Alberta government House Leader Jason Nixon calls Dang’s hack ‘unacceptable,’ calls for investigation

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Alberta Government House Leader Jason Nixon responds to a statement from Thomas Dang, Independent MLA for Edmonton South, on Tuesday March 22, 2022 calling on the UCP government of Alberta to improve their cybersecurity protocols. Dang claims he hacked the Alberta vaccine passport system using Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s birthday to highlight flaws in the system. Dang has not been arrested or charged with any offences but a police investigation is underway.
Alberta Government House Leader Jason Nixon responds to a statement from Thomas Dang, Independent MLA for Edmonton South, on Tuesday March 22, 2022 calling on the UCP government of Alberta to improve their cybersecurity protocols. Dang claims he hacked the Alberta vaccine passport system using Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s birthday to highlight flaws in the system. Dang has not been arrested or charged with any offences but a police investigation is underway. Photo by LARRY WONG/POSTMEDIA

The legislature should launch an investigation into MLA Thomas Dang’s actions after he admitted to using the premier’s birthday as part of a hack to access private health information, UCP House Leader Jason Nixon said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in the morning, Nixon said he planned to give notice of a motion calling for an investigation by a legislative committee, looking into both Dang’s actions and what the NDP knew about what he had done.

“This is an unacceptable action of one member to another member. It’s not even about a political process. It’s not a partisan question. This is unacceptable behaviour from a member of the legislature,” Nixon said.

Dang told Postmedia Monday that he was able to access the health card number and online COVID-19 vaccination record of a private citizen on Alberta Health’s vaccine passport website.

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He said he acting after hearing from a concerned citizen, that he initiated the hack to prove a vulnerability in website, and that details were provided to Alberta Health to help them close the loophole.

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Tuesday

Street Church minister seeking release on bail despite being ordered detained by one judge

Calgary’s Artur Pawlowski joined the rally as authorities dealt with a new roadblock on Highway 4 and 501 outside of Milk River heading towards the Coutts border crossing on Thursday, February 3, 2022.
Calgary’s Artur Pawlowski joined the rally as authorities dealt with a new roadblock on Highway 4 and 501 outside of Milk River heading towards the Coutts border crossing on Thursday, February 3, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Street Church minister Artur Pawlowski will have to wait at least one more day to find out if he’ll be freed from the confines of his Calgary jail cell.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gaylene Kendall ordered Pawlowski’s bail review before her to resume Wednesday afternoon after lawyers were unable to complete evidence and submissions before her on Tuesday.

At the start of the hearing, conducted virtually via WebEx with Pawlowski participating by phone from the Calgary Remand Centre, defence lawyer Sarah Miller was granted a publication ban on the proceedings by Kendall.

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During Pawlowski’s initial bail application on Feb. 9, the defence did not seek a publication ban.

At that time Crown prosecutor Stephen Johnston sought Pawlowski’s detention pending trial over allegations he incited protesters to anti-COVID-19 health measures not to abandon a blockade of the Coutts international border crossing.

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Tuesday

Q and A: Travel Alberta CEO on post-pandemic tourism and how the industry has changed

David Goldstein, CEO Travel Alberta speaking at the Edmonton stop in a series of 10 town halls province-wide, bringing together business, government and industry to connect, collaborate and discuss the tourism sector’s recovery and growth. Taken on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Edmonton.
David Goldstein, CEO Travel Alberta speaking at the Edmonton stop in a series of 10 town halls province-wide, bringing together business, government and industry to connect, collaborate and discuss the tourism sector’s recovery and growth. Taken on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

The visitor economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions have forced the tourism industry to pivot its attention to local travellers.

As Alberta’s tourism industry begins to rebound as travel restrictions ease, Postmedia spoke with David Goldstein, Travel Alberta’s CEO, about how the industry has changed and the benefits of hosting “big ticket” events.

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Goldstein said a full pre-pandemic tourism industry recovery is expected by 2023-24.

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Tuesday

Edmonton city council rejects restoring mask rules for city-owned facilities

Pedestrians make their way past the sculpture InScope, created by Dam de Nogales, near 87 Avenue and 112 Street, in Edmonton on Sunday March 20, 2022. A COVID-19 face mask is visible on the sculpture.
Pedestrians make their way past the sculpture InScope, created by Dam de Nogales, near 87 Avenue and 112 Street, in Edmonton on Sunday March 20, 2022. A COVID-19 face mask is visible on the sculpture. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

Citing worries about possible abuse against frontline workers, city council voted against restoring mask requirements in city-owned facilities Tuesday.

Edmonton’s mandatory mask bylaw for public indoor spaces was scrapped earlier this month, shortly after the provincial government moved to Stage 2 of its reopening plan and dropped virtually all remaining measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Alberta’s mask mandate was among the public-health rules that ended at the time, but it’s still mandatory to wear a face covering on public transit across the province.

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Tuesday

Mexico sticking to plan to package Russian COVID-19 vaccine

A medical worker fills a syringe with Sputnik V vaccine as she prepares to vaccinate a Russian Army service member at a clinic in the city of Rostov-On-Don, Russia, December 22, 2020.
A medical worker fills a syringe with Sputnik V vaccine as she prepares to vaccinate a Russian Army service member at a clinic in the city of Rostov-On-Don, Russia, December 22, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov/File Photo

Mexico is sticking to its plan to package domestically the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V because health matters are separate from political conflicts, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.

In October, state-run vaccine company Birmex signed an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V, to package the product in Mexico.

“We’re going to continue with our plan, commitments made are kept,” said the president, who has ruled out imposing economic sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia calls the incursion a special military operation.

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Tuesday

Italian study shows ventilation can cut school COVID cases by 82 per cent

Desks in a classroom at St. Marguerite School in New Brighton on Aug. 25, 2020.
Desks in a classroom at St. Marguerite School in New Brighton on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

An Italian study published on Tuesday suggests that efficient ventilation systems can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in schools by more than 80 per cent.

An experiment overseen by the Hume foundation think-tank compared coronavirus contagion in 10,441 classrooms in Italy’s central Marche region.

COVID infections were steeply lower in the 316 classrooms that had mechanical ventilation systems, with the reduction in cases more marked according to the strength of the systems.

With applications guaranteeing a complete replacement of the air in a classroom 2.4 times in an hour, infections were reduced by 40 per cent. They were lowered by 66.8 per cent with four air replacements per hour and by 82.5 per cent with six air replacements, the study showed.

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Tuesday

Dang claims he hacked Alberta vaccine passport system using Kenney’s birthday to highlight flaws

Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang during a press conference at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang during a press conference at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

Edmonton-South MLA Thomas Dang has admitted to hacking the Alberta government’s COVID-19 vaccine record system last year using Premier Jason Kenney’s birthday.

In an exclusive interview with Postmedia, Dang, who resigned from the NDP caucus in December and now sits as an independent, said he did it to highlight security vulnerabilities and immediately passed what he uncovered on to the government so that the problem could be fixed.

He now wants Alberta to establish guidelines so developers and cyber security experts can alert the government if they find other online loopholes and create a new office focusing on digital security.

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