Live at 3:30 p.m.: Province to provide update on response to COVID-19 pandemic

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The province’s top doctor will be providing another update on Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic later today.

There are now four Calgary schools with COVID-19 outbreaks — declared when two or more cases among teachers, school staff or students test positive within a 14-day period. Auburn Bay School became the fourth to report an outbreak on Sunday evening.

The three other schools with outbreaks are St. Wilfrid Elementary School, Henry Wise Wood High School and Lester B. Pearson High School. As of Monday, a total of 18 Calgary schools have notified parents of confirmed cases.

As health officials investigate to determine who may have been exposed at the schools, Alberta Health Services is contacting students and staff who are considered to be in close contact with those with newly confirmed cases, AHS said in a letter to parents and guardians.

On Sunday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, posted on Twitter to encourage Albertans to help in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s within our power to stop the rise of COVID-19 cases. The small actions and simple choices each of us makes every day will be crucial to limiting the spread in schools and across communities in the days and weeks ahead,” she posted.

Alberta Health’s latest update on the state of COVID-19 in the province was on Friday, as updates are no longer being provided on the weekend.

On Friday, Hinshaw said that with “rigorous and proper precautions,” the public health officials believe limited band practices, indoor singing and concerts involving wind instruments can take place safely.

“These are activities that many Albertans have sorely missed,” she said during Friday’s press conference.

“The arts play an important role in schools and in our emotional well-being and the restrictions have been hard for many.”

Gathering limits still haven’t changed, while dance floors are still not permitted.

The province reported 111 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infections to 15,415 since March. Of those, 1,444 remain active, including 560 in the Alberta Health Services’ Calgary zone.

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