What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, Oct. 6

The latest:

  • The province said Monday that, over the weekend in the province, eight more people had died of COVID-19 and another 578 new cases were reported, bringing Alberta’s total active cases to 1,783 — climbing by 228 from Friday. 
  • The Edmonton zone continued to have the highest number of active cases, reporting 982 as of Monday, up nearly 150 cases from 835 on Friday.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, warned Monday that the surging number of cases in Edmonton could lead the province to impose additional measures in that city.
  • There are now 56 cases tied to the outbreak at the Millwoods Long Term Care Centre in south Edmonton and five people have died. Of the 56 cases, 39 are patients and 17 are staff.
  • In the biggest active outbreak in Calgary, at Foothills Medical Centre, two more patients died on the weekend, bringing total deaths to eight: a man from the South zone in his 60s and a man from the Calgary zone in his 80s.
  • Eighty cases are now linked to Foothills hospital — 42 patients, 33 health-care workers, and five visitors. Three hundred health-care workers have been restricted from work at some point during the investigation, although Alberta Health Services most are returning to work after completing their isolation.
  • There are now 319 cases at 149 schools of the more than 2,400 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.
  • 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.
  • Quebec has joined the COVID Alert app, leaving B.C. and Alberta as the only remaining provinces with no immediate plans to activate the digital tool. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Hinshaw said Monday that one of the factors leading to the climbing numbers in Edmonton is that some people — 11 per cent of active cases — are attending work or social gatherings while symptomatic and awaiting test results.

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

She asked people 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.”

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. 

The Calgary Remand Centre, shown on May 9, 2020. An outbreak has been declared at the centre, with five cases of COVID-19 confirmed. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

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.

(CBC)

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.

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 Oct. 5. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 8:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 168,962 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 142,334 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 9,504.

Contact tracing efforts are being ramped up in an effort to curb surging transmission rates in some of Canada’s COVID-19 hot spots, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising more federal support and Quebec becoming the latest province to join the COVID Alert app.

Trudeau said Monday that the government has signed agreements with Alberta, Ontario and Quebec to provide federal employees to help with contract tracing in coronavirus hot spots. 

Contact tracers advise those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to self-isolate or get tested to mitigate the spread of the virus. Delays in reaching out to them can interfere with the efficacy of contact tracing. 

Some Americans continue to defy the rules by making side trips when driving through Canada to or from Alaska, despite tough measures introduced in July to put a stop to it. 

In August, B.C. RCMP ticketed a half-dozen Americans in two separate incidents for going off-route during their treks. The tickets totalled $4,500 in fines and, in one case, RCMP escorted a family of five out of Canada. 

Canadians can now 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)

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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