Seniors are being warned of a phone scam involving the COVID-19 vaccine after reports to AHS of people over 75 “receiving phone calls telling them that they can book their COVID-19 immunization for a fee,” according to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health for the province.
Hinshaw said these phone calls are a scam.
“Due to limited vaccine supply coming in to the province we are not yet able to offer the vaccine to all Albertans over the age of 75. When we do, the vaccine will be free of charge. Neither AHS nor any other community provider will ever be asking for payment for the vaccine.”
She said if you receive these calls, you should hang up and report the call to the non-emergency line of local enforcement.
There were 16 new cases of COVID-19 across the Lakeland today, including four in Bonnyville, six in Cold Lake, two in St. Paul, one in Smoky Lake, and three in Vermilion.
Across Alberta, there were 421 new cases identified in the past 24 hours, but 582 new cases reported because of an error in yesterday’s reporting. Hinshaw said the error did not impact notifications, just the numbers provided by the province.
“The overall positivity rate did not change. Yesterday we completed more than 11,500 tests, and our positivity rate is currently about 3.6 per cent,” said Hinshaw.
There are currently 517 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 93 people receiving care in the ICU. An additional 13 deaths were reported across the province yesterday.
“We can never forget that these numbers represent human lives lost. These aren’t just statistics. These are people who leave behind grieving family members, coworkers, friends, neighbors and community members. All of our efforts are to limit the spread of COVID-19, and in turn to help more families from going through the pain of having a loved one in hospital in ICU, or tragically losing a loved one to this virus,” said Hinshaw.
Community spread of UK variant
According to Hinshaw, 68 of the active cases in Alberta right now have been identified as variant strains of COVID-19. She said of the 11 variant cases confirmed yesterday, all of them are the B.1.1.7 variant which was first identified in the United Kingdom.
“Seven of these currently have no known link to travel,” said Hinshaw.
“Investigation is underway with detailed follow up of all these cases and their contacts. Two of the new cases, which are travel related, have been identified as having potentially exposed two additional schools in the Calgary zone.”
She said they are now offering anyone who may have been exposed a second COVID-19 test as a precautionary measure.
Hinshaw said that the government will be tracking the variant spread closely in the weeks to come.
“I want to reiterate that the measures that we have in place with respect to public health. The distancing, masking, the regular things that we’re asking all Albertans to do every day. Those are the things that will protect us. And if we do them rigorously we can prevent the variants from spreading and from becoming the dominant strain,” said Hinshaw.