What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Sept. 23

The latest:

  • A COVID-19 outbreak that has hit three units within Foothills hospital in Calgary has claimed three lives as of Wednesday, with 14 other patients and six staff testing positive. A total of 88 staff are in isolation.
  • An outbreak has also been declared in one unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. According to Alberta Health Services, the outbreak involves three health-care workers. At-risk patients in the unit have been tested and no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified among patients. AHS did not identify which health unit was affected.
  • 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, there were 28 schools with outbreaks, out of more than 2,400 in the province: 13 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.
  • Highlands School in Edmonton became the third school in the province on the AHS watch list, meaning schools with outbreaks of five or more cases, joining Vimy Ridge in Edmonton and St. Wilfrid in Calgary.
  • There are now three schools in the province where it’s believed in-school transmission occurred.
  • Meanwhile, many COVID-19 survivors — including a young U of C student — are describing a slow, painful recovery.
  • Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is not expected to give a provincial update on Wednesday.

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. Three 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.

Four months after it was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the troubled Grande Cache coal mine remains inactive, leaving more than 200 workers in limbo. 

(CBC)

As of Wednesday, there were 28 schools with outbreaks: 13 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.

COVID survivor support websites have popped up across the globe with individuals expressing concerns about the lingering impact of the virus. Many complain of persistent cough, breathing problems, fatigue and chest and joint pain.

U of C student Matt Greenshields, shown in a family photo, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, took months to recover and still worries about its long-term effects. He has spoken up to warn others, especially younger people, to take the coronavirus seriously. (Greenshields family/Canadian Press)

Matt Greenshields, a University of Calgary student, says he was diagnosed with the virus in mid-March and soon found himself in an oxygen tent in an intensive care unit. He had lung problems for a couple of months, as well as abnormal liver enzymes and an elevated heart rate.He was technically COVID-free on April 1 but says he didn’t feel like himself until the end of May, didn’t return to playing sports until June and is still concerned about long-term effects.

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 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 146,663 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 126,905 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 9,274.

CBC News has dug deep into the data collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to examine how COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, affects the young, the elderly, men and women in order to better understand what’s most likely to land you in hospital — or worse.

Among the findings:

  • In the early days, people over 80 years old made up the largest group getting sick as long-term care homes were hit hard, but CBC’s analysis reveals that since mid-August, infections among young people (under 30) now outnumber the elderly. 
  • Close to 10 per cent of people who tested positive for coronavirus ended up in hospital, according to the cases tracked by PHAC, with two per cent landing in ICU — especially in certain age groups.
  • Six per cent of cases have been fatal, with huge differences in terms of ages and, to a lesser extent, gender.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will lay out its priorities for the upcoming term in Parliament in Wednesday’s throne speech, followed by a rare address to the nation Wednesday evening from the prime minister.

The addresses by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and the prime minister come as the country contends with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 9,000 Canadians, sickened tens of thousands more and crippled the economy. 

Canada’s first known case of COVID-19 was detected eight months ago this week. As of Sept. 22, the coronavirus has been confirmed in 146,663 people across the country.

The chief provincial health officer in British Columbia says she’s received death threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says she has also received abusive letters and her staff has been harassed, all of which has caused concern for her personal safety. 

Nova Scotia’s film industry is enjoying a rare boom this fall. Those in the business give much of the credit to the province’s low rate of COVID-19. More than a dozen large and small productions got started mid-summer and are continuing into the fall.

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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