What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, August 25

The latest:

  • An outbreak at a Calgary chicken processing plant has led to 13 cases of COVID-19. There is also an outbreak of six cases at the Peter Lougheed Centre’s mental health and addictions unit.
  • One of the largest current outbreaks in the province has been linked to the Bible Pentecostal Church in north Edmonton, which has now seen 75 active and two recovered cases. 
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said most new cases are linked to gatherings.
  • Alberta reported four more deaths over the weekend and 258 new cases of COVID-19. The province reported 83 new cases on Friday, 106 of Saturday and 69 on Sunday.
  • Three workers on Alberta’s health link team are infected with COVID-19. Alberta Health Services confirmed the cases Monday.
  • Contact tracing is underway, and a small number of staff are being restricted from work at their offices, located inside the Plaza 124 building in Edmonton. 
  • The province has posted a guide to how it will respond to cases and symptoms of COVID-19 that are identified in schools.
  • The City of Lethbridge has joined the growing list of Alberta communities to pass a mandatory mask bylaw. Effective immediately, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces including public transit. The fine for violating the face mask bylaw is $100.
  • Learn about where you need to wear a mask around the province.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Other outbreaks currently being tracked by the province include:

  • Peter Lougheed Centre, Calgary, five active cases.
  • Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, two active cases.
  • Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, three active cases, 80 recovered cases. (Two deaths over weekend, bringing total to 31).
  • Deadwood, Alta., (prayer meeting), seven active cases, 10 recovered.
  • Lilydale chicken plant, Calgary, 11 active cases, two recovered.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said it’s important that people don’t let their guard down as the weather gets colder and gatherings move indoors. 

“Primarily, we’re seeing growth in cases linked to gatherings — weddings, funerals, family reunions, prayer meetings, informal gatherings of friends, backyard parties and community groups. There has been a particularly high attack rate in family gatherings,” she said.

“Keep gatherings small, and meet outside rather than inside whenever possible. Asking someone to wash their hands, or reminding them to maintain two metres of distance is the most loving thing we can do for each other at the moment.”

As we draw closer to the first week of September, CBC Calgary wants to hear from Alberta’s parents, students and teachers in regards to how the process has gone so far.

Across Alberta, mask use is required for staff and students from Grade 4 to Grade 12. In Calgary’s public system and within the Catholic school system, mask use will be required for all students and staff from Kindergarten on. Some schools might have additional space for more distancing, while others are already at capacity. 

There are plenty of other questions parents might have about the return to school. For that, we’ve created this guide, which we’ll update frequently in the coming weeks.

The province has posted a guide detailing how it will respond to any students or staff who have symptoms in schools, and what protocols will be followed if COVID-19 cases are identified in classrooms.

In addition to Edmonton being under a COVID watch, Sturgeon County — on the outskirts of the capital city — is also under watch, with a case rate of 93 per 100,000 population.

Mackenzie County, a vast area in the province’s far northwest, is also under a watch with a case rate of 215.1 per 100,000 population.

(CBC)

Hinshaw said her office will continue to monitor new evidence as it emerges and will adapt advice about school re-entry plans as needed. She announced that she will be sending her own children back to school in an attempt to reassure Alberta parents.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is calling on the province to push back the first day of school until after Labour Day to give teachers and principals more time to prepare for teaching through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A Danish journalist working on a documentary about Indigenous resistance to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia was banned from entering Canada, despite presenting press credentials and a 14-day quarantine plan.

Kristian Lindhardt was forced to board a flight back to Copenhagen from the Vancouver airport on Saturday afternoon, after a day of questioning from border officials.

CBC News has curated a list of towns and cities in the province, outlining their policies on masks. We’ll try to keep it updated regularly.

(CBC)

Here’s the regional breakdown of active cases across the province as of Aug. 24:

  • Edmonton zone: 631 active cases.
  • Calgary zone: 356 active cases.
  • North zone: 133 active cases.
  • Central zone: 26 active cases.
  • South zone: 20 active cases.
  • Unknown: 6 active cases.

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

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 125,810 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 111,694 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 9,119.

In the United States, five saliva-based tests have been approved so far by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But no such saliva-based tests have yet been authorized by Health Canada.

On the treatment front, the World Health Organization warns using plasma recovered from the blood of patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 remains an experimental treatment, highlighting the need for better data including from a large trial underway in Canada.

With the new school year looming, many parents are forming their own learning or education pods that exist outside formal school systems this fall, with either parents or hired educators serving as teachers. But there’s concern the trend will erode Canada’s public education system and worsen already existing inequalities.

In British Columbia, anyone aboard a TransLink or BC Transit bus, boat or train and passengers aboard BC Ferries vessels is now required to wear a face mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

TransLink and BC Transit first announced the requirement on Aug. 6. Masks had previously been recommended, but TransLink’s anecdotal evidence suggested only about 40 per cent of riders were wearing complying.

Researchers in Saskatoon say their made-in-Canada vaccine effort has been slowed by a manufacturing delay.

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) says it needs to complete more studies using higher-grade materials than what was needed for early animal studies before it can move on to human critical trials. But given hold-ups from manufacturers, for the time being, they’re left waiting.

The federal government has spent more than $37 million to cover the cost of housing travellers returning to Canada who lack a safe place to quarantine for 14 days. Eleven hotel sites have been set up across the country, each with its own health-care staff and security.

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.

View Source