This week we have seen our ICU, hospitalizations and COVID numbers start to decline. This is in large part to Albertans who have been following the measures and ensuring to get their vaccines. Thank you. Please note that we are not out of the woods yet. ICU admissions remain high and we continue to postpone surgeries. Please continue to follow all health measures in place.
The number of eligible Albertans who have been fully vaccinated is now at 77.6 per cent and those with one dose is at 86.1 per cent. Vaccinations are key to ensuring that we protect not only ourselves, but those around us from becoming seriously ill with COVID.
As we head into the flu season I ask you to also consider booking your flu shot. You can book your free flu shot now by going to bookvaccine.alberta.ca. You can also call your local pharmacy or doctor’s office to learn more about the influenza vaccinations.
In this edition you will find further information on the COVID QR code that Albertans will need to enter businesses who are using the Restricted Exemption Program, enhanced protection for our most vulnerable in continuing care facilities, the success of the Kananaskis Conservation Pass and details on a townhall I will be hosting in November. Lastly, thank you to our health care workers for continuing to step up and care for all Albertans during this challenging time. We can all thank them by getting vaccinated and following the rules. I had an opportunity this week to visit Rockyview Hospital and speak with Dr. Sid Viner about how COVID has impacted health care workers. You can watch the video here.
If you have questions, concerns or would like to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office to schedule a phone call at firstname.lastname@example.org
App to scan COVID-19 vaccine QR codes now available
Businesses and organizations can begin using the free AB Covid Records Verifier app to quickly and easily confirm their patrons’ vaccination status. The AB Covid Records Verifier app is available for download on Apple and Android devices through the respective app stores.
Albertans can get their enhanced vaccine record with a QR code online at alberta.ca/CovidRecords without creating an account.
When a valid QR code is scanned, a green check mark will verify the proof of vaccination. It will also display a person’s name and date of birth, which businesses are asked to check against other identification. The app does not store any personal information and does not require an internet connection to operate once downloaded.
The QR code contains a secure digital signature that verifies it’s provided by Alberta Health and it is extremely hard to forge. The same technology is used for secure transactions in the banking system and other industries. If a person does not meet the vaccination requirement set in the Restrictions Exemption Program or if the QR code is tampered with, the record will show as invalid when scanned.
Albertans can request a printed proof of vaccination with a QR code from a local registry agent office or by calling 811, at no cost. Other forms of proof of vaccination will continue to be accepted until Nov. 15, including paper records from vaccine providers or a screenshot, or a printed record from alberta.ca/CovidRecords or MyHealthRecords.
Enhanced COVID-19 protection for continuing care
Alberta’s government is strengthening health measures for continuing care facilities to help protect vulnerable Albertans from COVID-19.
Thanks to vaccines, COVID-19 outbreaks in continuing care facilities have been smaller and fewer COVID-related deaths have been reported than in previous waves. However, residents in these facilities remain uniquely vulnerable to severe outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
Effective Oct. 25, masking will be required for visitors at continuing care facilities at all times and residents will be required to quarantine after being admitted to the facility or returning from hospital until they test negative for COVID-19.
Health officials are strongly encouraging unvaccinated family and friends to not visit residents in person at this time. Facility operators are also able to implement additional rules, such as requiring proof of vaccination, as appropriate.
The only exception to this mandatory masking measure will be in cases where there are communication challenges with residents who may be hard of hearing or have dementia. Any exceptions will be determined by the facility staff.
In addition, all residents who are transferring to a continuing care facility from hospital or returning from a hospital stay longer than 24 hours must stay in quarantine until they test negative for COVID-19. A PCR test must be used, with testing conducted by Alberta Health Services.
Facility operators have the authority to implement additional COVID-19 measures in their facilities, after consulting with residents and their families. This includes actions such as requiring visitors to show proof of vaccination or undergo rapid testing.
Kananaskis Conservation Pass – Re-investing in our parks
The success of the Kananaskis Conservation Pass is already enhancing conservation, public safety, services and facilities in Kananaskis Country.
Every dollar from the Kananaskis Conservation Pass is re-invested to enhance visitor experiences, with funds supporting trail maintenance, waste management, search and rescue operations, visitor services and the upkeep of facilities at day-use areas and campgrounds in Kananaskis Country.
In just under five months, more than 253,000 Kananaskis Conservation Passes have been issued, generating over $10 million in revenue. Exemptions are in place for low-income Albertans, with over 13,000 single and multi day passes issued to date.
Revenue generated from the pass has supported:
- The hiring of 20 additional Conservation Officers and 32 new seasonal positions, including more recreation officers and visitor services staff to support safe and sustainable outdoor recreation;
- staffing of visitor information centres;
- Grooming of cross-country ski trails; and
- Increased public safety through incident response services and traffic management.
Constituency Town Hall
In the community
Small business week
Did you know that 95 per cent of all businesses in Alberta are small businesses. Alberta’s economic recovery relies on small businesses, as they contribute over $100 billion annually towards Alberta’s GDP, and employ hundreds of thousands of Albertans. As of June 2021, the total number of businesses with employees in Alberta is 170,368. Nearly half (81,631) of those are outside of Edmonton and Calgary. Small businesses are critical the success of our province!
Please support the businesses in our riding of Calgary-Varsity and across Alberta.
Get your flu shot
Today I was able to get my flu shot at one of Calgary-Varsity’s local pharmacies, PharmaSave. Thank you to Jason for my flu shot. You can book your flu shot now at bookvaccine.alberta.ca.
Hotchkiss Brain Institute Donation
The Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary received a $10 million donation from Calgary Business Leader, Sanders Lee for brain and mental health research. The Hopewell M.I.N.D. Prize is unique in Canada, offering up to $1 million annually for 10 years to launch innovative, high-risk, high-impact brain and mental health projects at HBI. The prize, is the largest-ever prize for innovative research at the HBI — totalling $10 million.
For the full news release go to https://www.ucalgary.ca/news/ucalgary-announces-10m-gift-create-hopewell-mind-prize