What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Oct. 5

The latest:

  • Eight more people died of COVID-19 over the weekend, and another 578 new cases were reported in Alberta, bringing the province’s total active cases to 1,783, up 228 from Friday. 
  • Two of those deaths were linked to the outbreak at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
  • A total of 80 cases are now linked to that hospital — 42 patients, 33 health-care workers, and five visitors. Visitor restrictions are in effect across the hospital, but all surgeries scheduled for today are proceeding as planned.
  • The other six deaths were in the Edmonton zone, four of which were linked to outbreaks at continuing care centres. 
  • There are now 319 cases at 149 schools across the province. A total of 65 schools are classified as outbreaks, which means two or more cases, and 10 are on the watch list, which means five or more cases where the disease may have been acquired or transmitted within the school. 
  • One Calgary school, Ecole de la Rose sauvage, will move all students online after four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by AHS. The school says students will learn online until Oct. 13 or Oct. 15, depending on their date of exposure.
  • The province has a new website and tip sheet to help people plan for a safe Halloween. 
  • Flu vaccines will be available starting Oct. 19, and the province is encouraging everyone who can to get immunized. 
  • An outbreak has been declared at the Calgary Remand Centre with five cases of COVID-19 confirmed.
  • Mount Royal University in Calgary announced Friday it will continue delivering most classes online during the Winter 2021 semester.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said that as the active case numbers in the province increase, she has noticed an alarming trend — 11 per cent of COVID-19 cases are still attending work or social gatherings while symptomatic.

“I want to be clear. If you are sick, you need to stay home,” she said on Monday. 

She asked for people attending Thanksgiving dinners to be mindful and continue to take precautions, lest the celebratory time take a dangerous turn.

“This is not a normal Thanksgiving. I urge you to keep your gatherings limited only to your household and cohort members, no more. I ask that you keep gatherings as small as possible, eat outdoors if possible and don’t share serving spoons or dishes,” she said.

“If you are even slightly sick, don’t go to a Thanksgiving event and don’t host one at your home. The greatest tragedy would be for Thanksgiving dinner to turn into an opportunity for COVID to spread to our loved ones, potentially with severe consequences. Let’s celebrate all that we are thankful for by protecting each other, not taking chances.”

Alberta reported eight additional deaths over the weekend, two of which were linked to the outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary and four linked to outbreaks at continuing care centres in Edmonton: two at Extendicare Eaux Claires and two at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre.

A total of 62 people are in hospital, and 14 are in intensive care. Labs have now performed 1,424,946 tests on 1,067,184 Albertans.

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

  • Edmonton zone: 982, up 147 from Friday’s update. 
  • Calgary zone: 624, up 56. 
  • North zone: 105, up 1. 
  • South zone: 47, up 16. 
  • Central zone: 22, up 3. 
  • Unknown: 3, up 2. 

(CBC)

Ottawa has signed agreements with Alberta, Ontario and Quebec to supply federal bureaucrats to help those provinces with their contact tracing — the process of connecting with people who may have been in close contact with a positive case of the novel coronavirus.

Parents of students attending Catholic schools in Edmonton are being told they can choose only one learning option for the rest of the current school year — online or in-person.

An earlier plan gave families four opportunities within the year to select their preferred learning option. But the Edmonton Catholic School District is facing a strain on resources, including the availability of teachers, and needs to adjust its plans, it said in a news release Monday.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province won’t be cancelling Halloween over COVID-19 fears.

The province has released a series of guidelines on its website about how both trick-or-treaters and candy handers can enjoy the night safely.

A snapshot of the active cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Oct. 5. (CBC)

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 8:15 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 166,156 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 140,243 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 9,481.

Starting today, people can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for a new sick leave benefit and a new caregiver benefit for those forced to take time off work to care for a dependent because of the pandemic.

The benefits come after legislation creating them was rushed through the House of Commons last week. Bill C-4 replaced the now-defunct $500-per-week Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), which came to an end after helping almost nine million Canadians weather the impact of the pandemic.

High school students in Quebec’s red zones will be required to wear masks in the classroom, organized sports will be prohibited and gyms closed under new restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The new rules, announced Monday, go into effect Oct. 8 until at least Oct. 28. Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said students in Grade 10 and 11 will pivot to a hybrid form of schooling, where they will be physically in school only one out of every two days to reduce class sizes.

Canadians have made more than 830,000 repayments of COVID-19 emergency aid benefits to which they were not entitled — a statistic some say reflects mass confusion over fast-tracked federal programs. 

The figures provided to CBC News by the Canada Revenue Agency include repayments from recipients of the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) and Canada emergency student benefit (CESB).

The federal government is offering to send the Canadian Red Cross into COVID-19 hotspots as case numbers rise and parts of the country slip into a second wave, according to sources.

A senior government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the government has been reaching out to hard-hit regions recently experiencing outbreaks and surges.

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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