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Texas governor brags about low COVID stats two months after dropping lockdown

Gov. Greg Abbott took to Twitter on Sunday to brag about how well his state was doing since dropping any masking or social distancing requirements eight weeks ago.




The state of Texas decided to fully open from COVID-19 lockdowns two months ago Monday – and their pandemic numbers are looking a lot different than Alberta’s.

Gov. Greg Abbott took to Twitter on Sunday to brag about how well his state was doing since dropping any masking or social distancing requirements eight weeks ago.

Abbott noted:

• COVID-19 hospitalizations are the lowest in almost 11 months.

• Texas has had five consecutive days with fewer than 2,000 COVID-19 cases.

• The state currently has a COVID-19 positivity rate below 5% for 6 straight days “for the first time in forever.”

• Fatalities down more than two thirds.

Even though stricter measures have been dropped, Texans are still encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Greg Abbott’s tweet

The statistics for the last two weeks in Alberta have told a different story.

New cases have regularly been well over 2,000 daily, hospitalizations are at record levels and the positivity rates are above 10% and sometimes as high as 13%.

In fact, the focus of Texans seems to have moved on from COVID-19. News the last week has focused on whether or not to allow people to carry handguns in public without a licence

“We absolutely aren’t declaring victory at this time. We remain very vigilant and guarded and proactive in our response, but there’s simple math behind the reason why we continue to have success,” Abbott said in a recent interview with FOX.

“When you add all the numbers of vaccinations that are taking place, as well as all of the acquired immunity from Texans who have been exposed and recovered from COVID-19, it means, very simply, it’s a whole lot more difficult for COVID to be spreading to other people in the state of Texas. 

“It looks like it could be very close to herd immunity,”

The Austin American-Statesman reported as of mid-April, more than six-million people had been fully vaccinated in Texas, or about 20% of the state’s 29-million population. Additionally, the state has recorded about 2.9 million positive cases or probable cases. Subtract from that total the 50,800 cases that have resulted in deaths. The rest, about 2.75 million Texans, have recovered from infection and are presumed to have some level of natural immunity to future infection.

Several groups did step forward to say Abbott’s herd immunity math is flawed.

“We are getting closer to herd immunity, however you define it, because we’re vaccinating more people over time. But are we there now? The answer is probably no. But when we will get there and what level do we need to get there are still open questions people are debating,” said Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Alberta has had 209,000 total confirmed cases resulting in 2,110 deaths.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. John Lankers

    May 10, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    @Left Coast I’m starting to believe there are forces at work that try their darndest for Canada not to recover.

  2. Left Coast

    May 10, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Canadians are stuck on the Stupid Train . . . allergic to learning from other jurisdictions that have had success dealing with the CCP Virus.

    Had Canada followed the lead of Sweden, we would be normal today and without the immense wreckage in our economy & other residual damage that will likely exceed Covid Deaths by double.

    But we are led by the Inept & Unprincipled, they cling to power and have become little Cesars. It is becoming more & more obvious every day that Canada may never recover!

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.




The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.




Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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