What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, Sept. 3

The latest:

  • The province’s tally of active cases of COVID-19 continued to climb on Wednesday, with 114 new cases, bringing the total to 1,403, up from 1,398 the day before.
  • The Calgary Drop-In Centre said that as of Wednesday, five people staying in its main shelter downtown had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • The Calgary zone surpassed the Edmonton zone on Monday in terms of total active cases for the first time in weeks, but the Edmonton zone reported more new cases on Wednesday.
  • Calgary now has 632 active cases, up from 626 on Tuesday, after dipping below 300 in August.
  • The Edmonton zone has declined to 538, from 542 on Tuesday.
  • Eleven regions around the province are under a “watch,” which is declared when active cases surpass 50 per 100,000 people.
  • Alberta could scale back its relaunch in particular sectors should cases substantially increase, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
  • Hinshaw’s next news conference is scheduled for this afternoon.
  • The Alberta government will allow schools to decide how best to spend most of $262 million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 related costs, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said at a news conference Wednesday.
  • A COVID-19 case has been connected to Canyon Meadows School in Calgary, although the K-5 school decided to open as planned on Tuesday. 
  • Meadow Ridge School in Okotoks decided Monday not to reopen Tuesday after a staff member at the kindergarten to Grade 9 school was diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • The Peace River School Division, northwest of Edmonton, posted a notice on its website saying it was delaying the start of its school year until after Labour Day.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Social assistance caseloads in Alberta have dropped dramatically during the pandemic, with the provincial government providing income support to roughly 10,000 fewer households since March.

Albertans who had previously been receiving income support from the province but started receiving federal CERB payments have seen the provincial benefits clawed back.

The province exempts some of the federal benefit from its income-support calculations, but for thousands of people receiving $2,000 per month under CERB, it adds up to a complete elimination of their provincial social assistance.

Meantime, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has filed a labour complaint against the Alberta government, alleging the province is violating the terms of its own single-site worker order at the Michener Centre by depriving dozens of workers of wages during the pandemic.

The Alberta government announced Wednesday it will allow schools to decide how best to spend most of $262 million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 related costs.

(CBC)

The province will distribute the majority of the funding, $250 million, to school authorities based on a per-student model, and it must be used to support additional COVID-19 related costs, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said at a news conference.

The funding can be used for staffing, adapting learning spaces, personal protective equipment, cleaning, supports for special needs students and online learning and teacher training.

The City of Edmonton will attempt to buy underused hotels and apartment buildings to house homeless people this fall and winter, council agreed in a motion Wednesday. 

Mayor Don Iveson will ask the federal and provincial governments for money to purchase real estate that has dropped in price because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A pregnant Alberta woman is urging the federal government to rethink its pandemic travel rules to allow her to return to the country to access medical care without leaving her soon-to-be adopted Haitian children behind.

The Calgary Board of Education released a how-to guide on what back to school will look like. Here’s a look from elementary to high school. 2:46

CBC News is following four families as they navigate the return to school in the midst of the global pandemic, tracing how the reopening impacts them before and during the return. Here’s the first instalment: Getting ready for school.

CBC Calgary also wants to hear from Alberta’s parents, students and teachers in regards to how the process has gone so far.

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

  • Calgary zone: 632, up from 626 on Tuesday.
  • Edmonton zone: 538, down from 542 on Monday.
  • North zone: 167, down from 171.
  • Central zone: 32, up from 27.
  • South zone: 31, up from 30.
  • Unknown: 3.

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

(CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 7:45 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 129,923 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 115,050 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 9,173.

Health experts say it’s more important than ever to get the flu shot to avoid what some have termed a “twindemic” — an influx of people becoming ill as influenza and the new coronavirus circulate at the same time. Here, experts weigh in on some questions you may have about getting a flu shot during the pandemic.

Canada has announced that it has signed deals with four U.S. companies to reserve millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines under development in an effort to make sure Canadians are at “the front of the line” when a vaccine becomes available.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is blaming processing “hiccups” for the fact that many Canadians are reporting delays in receiving their Canada emergency response benefit payments.

A group of parents, concerned about the threat of COVID-19 in Quebec schools, will try to convince a judge Thursday to order the province to loosen its rules on who can take classes online.

The parents are seeking an injunction that would allow them to keep their children home from school to learn remotely, even though they don’t qualify for a medical exemption.

Meantime, the COVID Alert app is now live in Newfoundland and Labrador, as the province has become the second in Canada to sign up for the federal government’s exposure notification system. Saskatchewan, too, will be participating in Ottawa’s app.

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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