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Alberta

50 of 67 new COVID cases are in Calgary. Alberta COVID-19 update for March 26

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From the Province of Alberta

Update 13: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 26 at 4:30 p.m.)

Sixty-seven additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 486.

Latest updates

  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 300 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 111 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 26 cases in the North zone
    • 37 cases in the Central zone
    • 12 cases in the South zone
  • Of these cases, 21 are currently hospitalized, including 10 admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
  • In total, there have been 28 hospitalizations, with 11 admissions to an ICU.
  • Two deaths have been reported.
  • Up to 34 of the 486 cases may be due to community transmission.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed March 24 at the Nelson Home, a Calgary group home for persons with developmental disabilities. Two care workers and a resident have tested positive for COVID-19, and two other residents have been tested with no results available yet. All individuals are self-isolating.
  • To date, 17 cases have been identified in staff and residents of continuing care facilities, including 14 in McKenzie Towne Long Term Care, one case in Rosedale on the Park and two at Shepherd’s Care Kensington Village.
  • There are 24 new confirmed recovered cases, bringing the total to 27.
  • Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
  • All Albertans need to work together to help prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19.

Mental health supports

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.

If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.

This change will support 811 operators to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.

Pausing some health construction projects and non-essential service contracts
In order to protect patients, families and staff providing key services inside health-care facilities, AHS has informed some contractors and vendors that provide non-essential services at some health facilities that their projects will be temporarily paused.

These include non-essential delivery services and facility maintenance, such as flooring replacement, departmental renovations or lighting retrofit projects.

Alberta Infrastructure is also working with AHS to ensure that construction projects being done inside health facilities do not impact the operations of the facility.

As each project is reviewed and assessed, Infrastructure will provide notice to affected contractors if any projects are deferred.

Emergency isolation supports

Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the Emergency Isolation Support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.

Access to justice

Provincial Court of Alberta’s case management offices are closing and the Court of Queen’s Bench has updated processes.

Effective March 27, the Provincial Court of Alberta will close all of its case management offices. More information: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements/closure-of-case-management-offices-(cmo)

The Court of Queen’s Bench will allow remote commissioning of affidavits in certain situations. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/npp-remote-commissioning-of-affidavits.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has updates regarding modified hearings, processes for criminal, civil and family matters and rescheduled hearings. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/covid-19-amendments-to-master-order-2.

Food supply

Despite higher retail demand, Alberta’s food supply remains secure. Government is in regular contact with other levels of government, producers, distributors, retailers and processors to ensure it stays that way. We are working with food banks and Indigenous communities to understand their needs and ensure everyone has access to the food supplies they need.

Medical evaluation for drivers’ licences

Alberta Transportation has extended the timeline to 90 days for most drivers requiring a medical evaluation to complete their medical form when applying for or renewing their licence. This will reduce the current strain on the health-care system. Medically high-risk drivers will still be required to present their medical evaluation at the time of their application or renewal.

Offers of help

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program has been set up in response to growing offers of generosity from individuals and organizations to help with the challenges many Albertans are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those wanting to help can go to alberta.ca/COVID19offersprogram for more information.

Quick facts

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

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Alberta

Calgary blocks traffic lanes to help pathway users maintain two-metre separation

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CALGARY — Fans of a decision by Calgary officials to block off some traffic lanes to give pedestrians and cyclists extra room for social distancing hope others cities will follow suit.

Starting Saturday along certain Calgary sidewalks and pathways with larger volumes of pedestrian traffic, crews have placed pylons and other barricades onto a lane of adjacent roadway for people to step onto so they can safely maintain a two-metre separation from others.

“We’re not encouraging people to go and hang around these places, but what we have done is closed a couple of lanes, again in high-pedestrian-centric locations, just to allow people to have more space between them if they are walking,” explained Sean Somers with the city’s transportation department.

Officials insist that people stay home as much as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, and say those who must go out should stay two metres away from others.

But many walkways aren’t wide enough to enable people to easily maintain that distance.

Vehicle use appears to be down in Calgary since many people are now working from home, Somers said, so there isn’t as much traffic on the roads.

“Last week I was going in to the emergency operations centre and it took me 15 minutes. I would say normally it’s double that to get there from my house,” Somers said, noting that the idea is being treated a pilot project and will be evaluated to see how well it works.

Greg Glatz, a commuter cyclist in Calgary, said he thinks the newly created bike and pedestrian lanes are fantastic. Even during a late evening ride on Saturday he noticed people on bikes and on foot using one that’s downtown on Memorial Drive near the Bow River.

But he said there was another path during his ride, along Crescent Road, that he said could have used one, where a large number of pedestrians were enjoying the sunset.

“There were eight people walking across the path side-by-side, and someone asked them to make some space, and they did a fake sneeze,” Glatz said. “I would love to see it done up there.”

Kimberley Nelson, who represents Alberta on the Velo Canada Bikes board, said she and other cycling advocates began suggesting the idea of closing some traffic lanes a week ago. Since Calgary announced late last week that it would do it, she said councillors in some other Canadian cities are also advocating for it on social media.

Nelson noted many doctors in Calgary cycle to work.

“Being able to ensure they’re able to do so in a safe manner is really important right now,” Nelson said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2020.

— By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Third Albertan has died from Coronavirus – 40 new cases in Alberta

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{The Province has not released any information about the location or age of the third fatality)

From the Province of Alberta

Update 16: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 29 at 5:30 p.m.)

A third Albertan has died and 40 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 661.

Latest updates

  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 408 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 149 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 46 cases in the Central zone
    • 45 cases in the North zone
    • 12 cases in the South zone
    • One case in a zone that is yet to be confirmed
  • Of these cases, there have been 41 hospitalizations, with 14 admissions to intensive care units (ICU), and three deaths reported.
  • Up to 60 of the 661 cases may be due to community transmission.
  • McKenzie Towne Long Term Care has 11 new cases identified, bringing the total to 26 at that facility. There are no reported changes for Rosedale on the Park (one case) and Shepherd’s Care Kensington Village (four cases).
  • There are now a total of 73 confirmed recovered cases.
  • Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
  • All Albertans need to work together to help prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19.
  • Restrictions remain in place for close-contact businesses, dine-in restaurants and non-essential retail services. A full list of restrictions is available online.
  • Albertans are prohibited from attending gatherings of more than 15 people, and they must continue to observe two metres of social distancing. This includes events both indoors and outdoors, such as family gatherings, weddings and funerals. Further details are available online.

Vehicle restrictions in parks and recreation areas

Vehicle access to provincial parks, and parking lots and staging areas on public land has been suspended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, in addition to facilities that have also been closed. Alberta Environment and Parks is doing its part to protect Albertans and parks employees. Included in the vehicle access closures are provincial recreation areas and public land recreation areas, where parking lots and staging areas exist.

List of essential workplaces

The list of essential workplaces that can continue to operate in Alberta can be found online.

Mental health supports

AHS has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.

If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.

This will allow the 811 health team to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.

Emergency isolation supports

Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the emergency isolation support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.

There is no formal deadline for emergency isolation support. This is a temporary program to bridge the gap until the Federal Emergency Care Benefit is available.

Quick facts

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.
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