· The Pulse
By and
  • New data from Alberta Health Services shows a sharp increase in code reds — when there are no ambulance crews available to respond to 911 calls — in Edmonton since the start of the pandemic. In January 2022, there were 1,233 code reds over nearly 40 hours in total. Health Sciences Association of Alberta president Mike Parker said the five new ambulances announced last month may not be enough to reduce the number of code reds. "We can hire all the ambulances we want, but we run four or five empty shifts a week without paramedics in them," he said.
  • Edmonton festivals are being challenged to keep things affordable in the face of rising costs. Edmonton Folk Music Festival producer Terry Wickham told Global News that wholesale food prices have increased 30%, while Jocelyn Anselmo with the recently wrapped-up Grindstone Comedy Festival said inflation caused nearly all the non-profit's expenses to increase. "I can't see anyone not being impacted by this," she said.
  • Bent Arrow is offering a new self-defence program for Indigenous women and girls called Project Kotawe. "I think it's super, super important, especially for the Indigenous population, to be taught how to defend themselves," youth councillor Janelle Huhtala told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active. "Our whole ideology is that we want to start a fire of empowerment, choice, safety and community." According to Statistics Canada, more than three in five Indigenous people in Alberta report having been physically or sexually assaulted since the age of 15. The new program is entirely volunteer-run and is offered in partnership with the Chimo Youth Retreat Centre and the Ludas Martial Arts Academy.
  • The Eastwood area had the highest concentration of opioid-related deaths in Alberta in 2021, with a total of 224, according to limited provincial data obtained by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association and Postmedia.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi wrote in an op-ed that while the city is making progress on helping Edmonton businesses to build and grow, more work is still to be done. "I want to build a city where business owners view the city as a competitive location, and the city government as a reliable collaborator and a fair regulator," he wrote. Additional changes are being worked on to reduce time-consuming requests for more information, Sohi said.
  • The final block of public tickets to mass with Pope Francis at Commonwealth Stadium will be released on July 22, rather than July 18 as planned, to give Indigenous partner groups time to organize their attendance. Indigenous people and residential school survivors can register for events in Maskwacis, Lac Ste. Anne, and Edmonton on behalf of themselves or a group by contacting email addresses found on the papal website.
  • Matthew McKnight, a former nightclub club employee who was found guilty on five charges of sexual assault in 2020, was denied an appeal of conviction. Prosecutors have filed to appeal his eight-year sentence. McKnight was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women between 2010 and 2016.
  • Alberta Health Services has rescinded its vaccine mandate for employees, effective July 18. AHS said the decision is the result of "emerging evidence" that a single or two-dose vaccine has "become less protective against infection" due to the evolution of the virus.