What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, Sept. 22

The latest:

  • Two patients are dead, and 14 other patients and six staff have tested positive as part of a COVID-19 outbreak that has hit three units within Foothills hospital in Calgary. A total of 88 staff are in isolation.
  • An outbreak of five cases has also been declared at a men’s residence on the University of Alberta campus, making the Edmonton university the first in the province to contend with an outbreak.
  • Alberta reported 150 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total active cases to 1,565, up by 106 from the previous day’s total of 1,459.
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 25 schools in Alberta classified as having outbreaks, which Alberta Health Services guidelines define as two or more confirmed cases at the same school within 14 days. 
  • Three schools in Alberta are under watch status.
  • There are now three schools where it’s believed in-school transmission occurred.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Alberta won’t follow B.C’s lead and cut down the list of COVID-19 symptoms parents must screen their school children for each morning.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on three units at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. Two patients have died, and 14 other patients and six staff members have tested positive, according to Alberta Health Services. AHS said all at-risk patients are being offered testing, and contact tracing for anyone who may have been in contact with infected individuals is ongoing. 

There are 1,565 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Of the 51 people in hospital, nine are in intensive care.

In Edmonton, an outbreak of five cases has been declared at a men’s residence on the University of Alberta campus, making the university the first in the province to contend with an outbreak. The outbreak is based at St. Joseph’s College, on the main campus. 

A new piece of medical equipment created at the University of Alberta may give doctors a quicker and safer way to resuscitate patients who go into cardiac arrest due to COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus can create complications in the lungs and many patients are placed on their bellies to improve ventilation. So, researchers developed a CPR board that can be placed between a mattress and patients on their stomachs. A protruding piece of the board, near the breastbone, adds pressure to the chest area while medical staff do compressions on the backs of prone patients.

(CBC)

As of Tuesday, there were 25 schools with outbreaks: 10 schools in the Calgary zone, nine in the Edmonton zone, one in Lethbridge, one in St. Albert, one in Okotoks and three in northern Alberta.

Three schools in Alberta, Vimy Ridge and Highlands in Edmonton and St. Wilfrid Elementary in Calgary, are under watch status, which means they have outbreaks of five or more cases.

Hinshaw said she was pleased with what she called a “positive” start to a school year unlike any in history, even with the outbreaks.

In Calgary, drop-in COVID-19 testing is now being provided at the Bow Trail assessment centre, which is located inside the old Greyhound bus terminal. The Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre now offers COVID-19 testing by appointment only.

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

  • Calgary zone: 485, up 23 from Monday.
  • Edmonton zone: 820, up 73.
  • North zone: 188, up 7.
  • Central zone: 24, up 4.
  • South zone: 41, down 4.
  • Unknown: 7, up 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

A snapshot of the active cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Sept. 22. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 145,415 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 125,714 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 9,268.

Canada is at a “crossroads” in controlling COVID-19 and actions of individual Canadians will determine whether cases continue to rise or can come under control, according to the latest projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Federal health officials presented new modelling today that shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally.

If the current rate of contacts is maintained, the epidemic is forecast to resurge, but if that rate of contacts increases, it is expected to resurge “faster and stronger.”

In Ontario, personal support workers and their unions are calling on the province to fix problems in long-term care homes.

Representatives of CUPE Ontario, SEIU Healthcare and Unifor said yesterday that the homes need adequate funding, increases in staffing to ensure there are “realistic” ratios of workers to residents and sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.

An Ottawa elementary school has become the first in Ontario to close due to COVID-19 concerns after two staff members and two students tested positive. Parents with children at Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School in Ottawa’s Barrhaven neighbourhood were notified about the closure on Saturday.

In Quebec, residents of Montreal and Quebec City are being urged to reduce their social activities to a minimum and face a host of new restrictions as the provincial government there tries to curb a rapid increase in cases of COVID-19.

Quebec’s two largest cities, and the Chaudière-Appalaches region, which is south of Quebec City, are under “moderate alert” beginning midnight Sunday.  

Quebec reported 462 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 427 new cases on Saturday. The province hasn’t seen similar daily increases since late May. Hospitalizations have been increasing at a slower rate and are now at 138, up from 124 a week ago.

Face masks, like these ones in a Halifax garbage can, are just some of the disposable items Canadians are increasing their household waste with during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robert Short/CBC)

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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