What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, Oct. 15

The latest:

  • Health officials are keeping a close eye on hospital capacity as Alberta’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge, driving hospitalization numbers to a new high.
  • There are 100 people in hospital, 14 of whom are in intensive care.
  • Alberta reported 243 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total active cases to 2,689, up 74 from the previous day. 
  • The bulk of the cases continue to be in Edmonton, which now has 1,473 active cases. 
  • One more death has been reported, a woman in her 30s tied to the outbreak at Hope Mission in Edmonton, bringing the total deaths to 287.
  •  There are 464 confirmed cases in 209 schools, and 88 schools have outbreaks. 
  • In the biggest active outbreak in Alberta, at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, 11 people have died and 87 have tested positive for COVID-19. No additional cases at Foothills were reported on Wednesday.
  • There is an outbreak of eight cases at Cavendish Farms near Lethbridge. 
  • Additional voluntary measures  are in place designed to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton.
  • Doctors and governments say the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more important than ever to get the flu shot. The influenza vaccine won’t be available to the general public in Alberta until Oct. 19, but pharmacies say appointments to get the shot in the first two weeks are filling up fast.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 are now the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic in Alberta. Between Friday and Monday, 961 new cases were identified in the province. Another 243 people tested positive on Tuesday.

According to provincial data, Alberta hit an all time high on Monday with 102 Albertans hospitalized and 13 of those patients in intensive care. As of Tuesday, 100 people were hospitalized with 14 in ICU.

A slow economic recovery from the pandemic threatens to delay a full rebound in world energy demand to 2025, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

A vaccine and therapeutics could mean the global economy rebounds in 2021 and energy demand recovers by 2023, the IEA said in its annual World Energy Outlook. The agency advises Western governments on energy policy.

Here’s the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Wednesday:

  • Edmonton zone: 1,473 up by 29 from Tuesday. 
  • Calgary zone: 791, up 37. 
  • North zone: 124, down 3. 
  • South zone: 177, up 17. 
  • Central zone: 108, down 1. 
  • Unknown: 16, down 5. 

(CBC)

Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean

A snapshot of the active cases by district in Calgary as of Oct. 13. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 6 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 189,385 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 159,351 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,663.

The federal government is prepared to offer small businesses rent and mortgage relief for October — but that money won’t actually get into the hands of business owners until November, says one prominent Canadian business group.

In the meantime, many small businesses are scrambling to make rent or mortgage payments in the midst of the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WestJet will soon no longer fly to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City and drastically cut back its service to St. John’s and Halifax.

The Calgary-based airline said Wednesday it is eliminating 100 flights, which represent about 80 per cent of the airline’s service in and out of Atlantic Canada. The airline also says it is also suspending operations to Quebec City, by removing its flight between there and Toronto.

“It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets,” CEO Ed Sims said. “Since the pandemic’s beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports. However, demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies and third-party fee increases that have left us out of runway without sector-specific support.”

Health-care providers in multiple provinces are struggling to keep up with demand for the flu vaccine, as Canadians hope to fend off a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19.

The online booking system in Montérégie, Que., crashed on Tuesday, the first day residents were able to book an appointment through the regional health authority.

Self-assessment and supports:

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19, but testing is open to anyone, even without symptoms. 

The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.

If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms have disappeared. 

You can find Alberta Health Services’ latest coronavirus updates here.

The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day. 

Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.

There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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