What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, August 1

The latest:

  • There will be no new numbers released by the province this weekend.
  • Mandatory mask bylaws have come into effect in both Calgary and Edmonton. Learn about where you need to wear a mask around the province, starting today.
  • The province reported one more COVID-19 death on Friday and 127 new cases of the illness.
  • There are now three students who have tested positive for COVID-19 at a summer school hosted by the Calgary Catholic School District, Alberta Health has confirmed.
  • Three more residents at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton have died from COVID-19, the facility said Thursday on its website.
  • The Calgary Board of Education has released its guidelines for re-entry this fall and says short-term online learning will be offered for Grades 1 through 12 for families who aren’t comfortable sending their children to school during the pandemic.
  • New data from Alberta Health reveals just how long those sick with the COVID-19 are staying in hospital.
  • People who don’t live in Chestermere will have to pay to get onto the city’s beaches, in part to offset COVID-19 physical distancing enforcement, the community decided Tuesday. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Face masks are now mandatory in a number of communities across Alberta, including Calgary and Edmonton.

In Calgary, 500,000 free and disposable masks will be available in packages of 10 at select recreation centres and animal shelters across the city. Masks must be worn in all public places in Calgary, unless the people are separated by an installed screen, shield or other barrier.

In Edmonton, the public must wear a mask in public places like buses, LRT transit stations, recreation and sports facilities, restaurants, pubs, cafes, retail stores, shopping malls and any entertainment venue — but there are some exceptions.

Masks are now mandatory in the town of Banff’s indoor public spaces, as well as outside along Banff Avenue — the town’s main street. Town council voted unanimously to pass the bylaw on Monday.

The Town of Okotoks is looking at requiring masks be worn inside municipal facilities and transit. The final vote on the issue is expected Aug. 17.

We’ve curated a list of towns and cities in the province, outlining their corresponding policies on masks. We’ll try to keep it updated regularly.

The effects of the virus are hanging over the Calgary Board of Education as it prepares for September classes with no additional funding to deal with COVID-19.  Board chair Marilyn Dennis says the CBE did get more money this year compared with last under a new model, but is still below 2018-19 levels and has considerably more students. 

Here’s a regional breakdown of active cases and hospitalizations across the province as of Friday:

  • Calgary zone: 599 cases, 18 in hospital.
  • Edmonton zone: 272 cases, 26 in hospital.
  • Central zone: 254 cases, 14 in hospital.
  • South zone: 147 cases, 15 in hospital.
  • North zone: 107 cases, 13 in hospital.
  • Unknown: 7 cases.

What you need to know today in Canada:

In the coming weeks, details are expected about the Trudeau government’s plan to transition residents off of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit in favour of a revamped employment insurance program.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said many people who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance, like gig or contract workers, will be able to access a different benefit that is similar to EI.

The Canada Border Services Agency is tightening up the rules for Americans and other foreign nationals travelling through Western Canada on the way to Alaska, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The second wave is coming. Here’s what public health experts say we should expect.

Toronto and Peel Region will move into Stage 3 of Ontario’s COVID-19 recovery plan Friday, the provincial ministry of health said this morning, as Ontario reported its fewest number of new cases since March 23.

As more regions across the country — including Calgary — adopt mandatory masking policies, some anti-masking groups are joining forces with anti-vaccination proponents and adopting their techniques to spread misinformation and amplify their message

As of 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 116,582 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,390 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting indicates that 8,975 Canadians have died.

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.