Friday, May 20, 2022

Baby dies of COVID-19 as hospitalized in Alberta

Many physicians say the highly contagious Omicron variant is sending more children to the hospital than in previous waves

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The child, aged between five and nine, who did not have any pre-existing conditions, was one of 23 COVID-19-related deaths in the last three days reported by the province.

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Alberta Health would not disclose the sex of the child or the place of death, citing privacy concerns.

Many physicians say the highly contagious Omicron variant is sending more children to the hospital than in previous waves of the pandemic.

This grim announcement comes as the impact of COVID-19 on schools in the province continues to grow, and Alberta’s NDP has renewed its call for action to stem the rising tide of absenteeism among students and staff.

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman pointed to a letter sent Monday to parents of students from the principal of the Ecole Tuscany school that described a situation where students and teachers, including two classes without teachers last week diseases are hindering the efforts of education.

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“Given our limited resources and the number of absent students and staff, we are unable to perform both in-person and online instruction,” wrote principal Patrick Tomsky. Ideal

“I expect the coming weeks to be equally challenging.”

Tomzik said the school had not received any masks or rapid testing kits in the past week, but “we expect this shipment to arrive soon.”

Hoffman said the school situation is not unusual in Alberta, whose schools have been abandoned by the UCP government to the ravages of COVID-19.

“Just a week after resuming individual classes, schools are opening and districts are being forced to go it alone,” Hoffman said.

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“The UCP government has left the students, teachers and all school staff to fend for themselves.”

He said it was not too late for the government to provide schools with N95 masks, HEPA filters and funding for mental health counselors and to make substitute teachers full-time trainers.

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Sarah Hoffman, NDP Critics for Education Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
Sarah Hoffman, NDP Critics for Education Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Photo by Ian Kuseraki ,postmedia

In the Calgary Catholic School Division, about 85 percent, or 117 out of 100 schools, were reporting a 10 percent or higher student absence rate in the past week and had 129 CCSD staff members on public health leave.

The district said it was able to fill 80 to 85 percent of teacher absenteeism with substitutes last week, with the remaining positions being covered by administrators.

It also set a 25 percent student absence limit for 10 days to trigger a return to learning at home, although the Calgary Board of Education has yet to publicly adopt such a policy.

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On January 14, the CBE said its student absenteeism rate was 7.1 percent, the highest among high school students at 7.5 percent.

On Monday, Alberta Health reported 23 more deaths linked to the virus over the weekend, bringing the total to 3,403.

And as cases are expected to rise massively, with hospitalizations rising from 822 on Thursday to 1,007 on Sunday, ICU admissions jumped from 81 to 94.

They are up 23 per cent and 16 per cent respectively – the former number approaching the highest hospitalization figure recorded during the pandemic of 1,128 on September 27 of last year.

And over the past three days, tests revealed 15,886 new infections for a positivity rate of 37 percent, although provincial health officials say the number of actual new cases is likely to be 10 times that number.

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Alberta Health Minister Jason Kopping was not counted, who revealed on Monday that he received a positive result from a rapid antigen test after feeling ill last week.

“I am isolated at home now. Please stay home if you have symptoms, and get tested rapidly if you can,” he said on Twitter.

Others on the Twitter thread rebuked him for his government’s dismal pandemic performance.

While infections driven by the highly-contagious Omicron variant continue to rise, a glimmer of hope appeared Monday with Health Canada’s approval of Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill, a COVID-19 treatment designed to help people under 18 at home. can be administered for.

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Clinical trials have shown that the treatment, which helps prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from reproducing in an infected patient, can reduce the risk of hospitalization within three days of infection and in high-risk patients. It was approximately 90 percent effective in reducing mortality, and 85 percent if given within five days.

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But concerns remain about how quickly the drug can be distributed to provinces, which will prioritize its recipients.

A provincial government spokesman said Alberta is hoping to take delivery of PaxLovid later this week, but it won’t be widely available at first.

“We expect the initial supply to be limited, so it is likely to be initially available only at a small number of community pharmacies,” Purity Anderson said in an email.

“We are reviewing Health Canada guidelines and working with physicians to determine eligibility criteria. We want to ensure that the drug reaches those who will benefit most, especially when supplies are limited.

bekoffman@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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