Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Aug. 16

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Alberta COVID-19 public health measures that had been set to expire today — like mandatory isolation, public testing and mandatory masking on transit — will remain in place for another six weeks, as the total of new cases daily surpasses the 500 mark for multiple days in a row..

Province extends some COVID-19 public health measures until Sept. 27

Tiegen Costa, 21, received his second dose of the COVID-19 in Edmonton. “Feels great. I’m looking forward to going back to parties and live music shows, and the whole nine yards,” he said. (AHS)

The latest COVID-19 numbers

  • Alberta reported 582 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the most recent numbers available as of Monday morning, while COVID-19 public health measures that had been set to expire today — like mandatory isolation, public testing and mandatory masking on transit — will remain in place for another six weeks, as the total of new cases daily surpasses the 500 mark for multiple days in a row and non-ICU hospitalizations trend higher than expected.
  • There were 4,438 active cases across Alberta, an increase of 337 from the previous data update.
  • There were 152 people being treated in hospital for COVID in Alberta. Of those, 37 were in intensive care units.
  • The positivity rate was 6.17 per cent.
  • One more death was reported. There have been a total of 2,332 deaths.
  • The R-value, which represents the number of people infected by each infected person, was 1.25 (with a confidence interval of 1.2-1.31) as of Monday. 
  • 232,169 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.
  • A spike in cases in Medicine Hat has Alberta Health Services reminding citizens to continue to protect themselves against COVID-19. Over the past three weeks, cases have jumped from under 10 to 242.

(Note the latest daily count of new cases in the above chart will usually vary slightly from the net new cases Alberta Health announces each day. For more on why, click here.)

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced Friday that public health measures that were set to expire Aug. 16 will now remain in place for another six weeks. 
  • Measures that will remain in place until Sept. 27 include:
    • Mandatory masking orders in publicly accessible transit, taxis and ride-shares. This includes school buses.
    • Mandatory isolation for 10 days for those with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result.
    • Testing at assessment centres for any symptomatic individual.
  • Hinshaw also announced Friday that back-to-school guidelines, will not mandate in-class masks. However she said school officials have the authority to put in local measures, like physical distancing, if they see fit.
  • The province had been relaxing the remaining restrictions in what was billed as a two-phased approach.
  • As of July 29, the following changes went into effect:
    • Quarantine for close contacts is no longer mandatory but recommended. 
    • Contact tracers no longer notify close contacts. Contact tracers will continue to investigate high-risk settings like continuing care facilities. 
    • Asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended. 
WATCH | Alberta’s top health official extends public health measures: 

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  • The U.S. land border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21, according to a renewal order issued by the American government. The U.S. government said while vaccination rates have improved, opening the land border to non-essential travel still poses too high a risk.
  • As of Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country became eligible able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
  • The government said it plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to enter Canada without quarantine on Sept. 7.
  • Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated will need to show documents proving they received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
  • Officials said travellers must electronically submit COVID-19-related information to the government’s ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan.

The latest on vaccines:

  • 57.4 per cent of all Albertans are fully vaccinated against COVID, and 65.2 per cent have received at least one dose (or 76.7 per cent of those eligible). 
  • Starting Sept. 7, temporary COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be set up in schools for students in grades 7 to 12 and for teachers and staff. 
  • Nationally, 71.8 per cent of the total population have received at least one dose. In Ontario, that figure is 71.9 per cent, and in Quebec it’s 73.7 per cent.
  • The federal government will soon require that all public servants be vaccinated — a mandate that will also be implemented by Crown corporations and other federally regulated businesses in the coming weeks.
  • Starting soon, all commercial air travellers and passengers on inter-provincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight accommodations (such as cruise ships) will have to be vaccinated. Accommodations will be made for “those few who are unable to be vaccinated,” such as testing and screening.
  • Alberta provincial data indicates that, from July 1 to Aug. 9, roughly 69 per cent of the COVID-19 infections were among unvaccinated people, compared with 19 per cent who were partially vaccinated and 12 per cent who were fully vaccinated.
  • Among people hospitalized for COVID, 77.4 per cent were unvaccinated, 13.8 per cent were partially vaccinated and 8.6 per cent were fully inoculated. 
  • And among people being treated in ICU for COVID, 85.3 per cent were unvaccinated and only about seven per cent were fully or partially vaccinated. 
  • Matt Wolf, executive director of issues management for Premier Jason Kenney, noted that “breakthrough” infections of fully vaccinated people leading to serious illness are generally among elderly Albertans with underlying health problems.
  • “Bottom line: vaccinations have been highly effective in Alberta at preventing infection and serious illness,” he said.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Friday.

  • Calgary zone: 1,790.
  • Edmonton zone: 1,063.
  • South zone: 639.
  • North zone: 623.
  • Central zone: 313.
  • Unknown: 10.

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:

With files from The Canadian Press

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