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Alberta

Thirty-one additional cases of COVID-19 confirmed. Alberta’s total now 226

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From the Province of Alberta 

Alberta COVID-19 Update for Saturday, March 21

Thirty-one additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 226. Aggressive public health measures continue to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Latest updates

  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 139 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 57 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 16 cases in the North zone
    • Seven cases in the South zone
    • Six cases in the Central zone
    • One case where the zone has not yet been identified
  • Of these cases, 11 are currently hospitalized, six have been admitted to intensive care units (ICU), and one patient has died.
  • The number of recovered cases March 20 was three. We have not received an updated number.
  • Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
  • Cyber security incidents involving malware and fraudulent activities, including identity theft, are being reported across Alberta in the wake of COVID-19.
    • Anyone who receives a call asking for credit card information should hang up immediately and call the non-emergency line for local law enforcement.
    • Albertans are encouraged to continue to exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information to people and organizations requesting that information unsolicited.
  • Select licensed child care centres will begin reopening to provide child care for core service workers. Parents will be notified by their employer if they qualify to send their children to newly reopened centres, and Children’s Services will contact the centres that will be reopening directly.
    • Access will be prioritized for health-care practitioners and critical infrastructure workers, with additional space then being made available for first responders and other essential personnel.
    • Child care centres will initially be chosen based on proximity to health-care facilities and will be reopened in phases based on areas of need, starting March 23.
  • Funding for civil society organizations will be distributed through the Families and Communities Support Services (FCSS) program. Civil society organizations can connect with their local FCSS program regarding available supports within the grant guidelines and criteria that will be posted online within the next few days.
  • Alberta Supports is temporarily suspending in-person services effective March 23 until further notice. More information will be made available through web postings, social media and posted signage as it becomes available.
  • Community and Social Services is working with Alberta Health Services, the City of Edmonton and Homeward Trust to open the Edmonton Expo Centre to homeless people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Albertans are reminded of the importance of social distancing as an important way to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
    • Albertans are discouraged from attending large shopping malls and other large public spaces, unless necessary.
    • Worship services may still take place this weekend, provided gatherings are fewer than 50 people. Those who attend must practise social distancing and proper hand hygiene. Those who are sick with a fever, cough or even mild cold-like symptoms must stay home and away from others.
    • A tip sheet is available to help Albertans understand ways to minimize close contact with others in community settings.
  • Mass gathering limitations and restrictions around public recreation and private entertainment facilities remain in place across the province.
  • All public fatality inquiries scheduled between now and May 22 have been adjourned with no restart date set. Currently, pre-inquiry conferences are only proceeding on a case-by-case basis.
  • While there are no restrictions at this time regarding personal services like hair salons, Albertans are reminded to reduce the number of times they leave their house to perform errands, practise social distancing and limit the amount of time they spend in crowded spaces.
  • All Albertans need to work together to overcome COVID-19. Albertans are asked to share acts of kindness they have experienced in their community during this difficult time by using the hashtag #AlbertaCares.
  • To reinforce this message, government has released a video to encourage people to help prevent the spread.

ATB Financial services

ATB Financial has temporarily closed selected branches and has reduced hours for all other branches in order to protect the health and safety of their team members, customers and the communities they serve. Details about ATB Financial’s customer relief programs, closures and reduced hours can be found at atb.com.

Seniors facilities limiting visitation

Seniors facilities are receiving social isolation and distancing information, and stronger restrictions are being put in place for visitors to long-term and seniors care facilities. Essential visitors will be restricted to a single individual who can be family, a friend, or a paid companion who provides care and companionship necessary for the well-being of the resident (physical and mental health) and/or a single designated visitor for a person who is dying, as long as only one visitor enters the facility at a time. Every visitor will undergo a health screening.

Driver road tests suspended

Effective immediately, driver road tests are suspended until April 20. Albertans who already have a road test booked will be able to rebook online using the same test permit at no additional charge. We are working with the commercial carrier industry to deliver emergency Class 1 road tests as necessary.

Alberta Corporate Registry annual returns suspended

In keeping with public gathering restrictions, deadlines are suspended for businesses, corporations and non-profits that require holding annual general meetings in order to file their annual returns with Alberta Corporate Registry.

Winter camping closing

Alberta Parks is closing winter camping effective immediately and not accepting new winter camping reservations to limit the spread of COVID-19. Bookings for winter camping sites will be cancelled and customers notified via the online reservation system or by phone. Refunds will also be issued.

Liquor and cannabis retailers remain open

Liquor and cannabis retail locations remain open in Alberta. AGLC is maintaining business as usual. There is no impact to supply. Contact aglc.ca for more information.

Some liquor manufacturers producing hand sanitizer

Some Alberta distillers have begun producing or indicating an interest to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizers in their facilities to help fill a gap in many markets due to COVID-19. AGLC is supporting the manufacturers’ efforts, and more information can be found at https://aglc.ca/bulletin/production-hand-sanitizer-class-e. Check with your local distiller regarding the availability of hand sanitizers.

Information for travellers

Travel outside the country is strongly discouraged. Given the rapid global spread of the virus, it is no longer possible to assess health risks for the duration of the trip.

Any traveller returning from outside of the country should self-isolate for 14 days, even if they are feeling well, and monitor for symptoms.

Any traveller who has returned before March 12 should closely monitor themselves for symptoms. If they experience symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and call Health Link 811 for follow-up assessment and testing.

The Alberta government and Travel Alberta have launched a campaign to inform Canadians travelling in the United States and Mexico about the importance of returning home.

COVID-19 related information has been provided for departing and returning passengers at the international airports in both Edmonton and Calgary. This information has also been shared with all airports in Alberta and several airlines.

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

Plane struck power line before crash near Edmonton, killing man and woman

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THORSBY, Alta. — The Transportation Safety Board says a plane that crashed last year southwest of Edmonton, killing the two people on board, had collided with a power line.

The Harmon Rocket two-seat sport plane took off Sept. 26 from Rocky Mountain House and went down near Thorsby before catching on fire.

RCMP said at the time that the pilot, a 59-year-man, and a passenger, a 48-year-old woman, both from Rocky Mountain House, were killed.

The board says the pilot was a well-known air-show performer and was cleared to perform aerobatic manoeuvres at any altitude.

There was no public air show that day, though, and the purpose of the trip was to gather with friends for an afternoon of go-karting next to an airfield.

The board says the pilot was unfamiliar with the area and, while doing a second circuit of the field, went from flying low over the racetrack into a climb and struck an unmarked power line.

The board’s report, released Wednesday, says low-level flight is very risky because not all hazards, such as power lines, can be seen in time to avoid a collision.

The Harmon Rocket is an aircraft regularly seen at air shows across North America.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta woman accused of murdering former common-law husband with pickup truck

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A woman in southern Alberta is accused of murdering her former common-law husband by running him down with a pickup truck.

Lethbridge police say 30-year-old Austin James Forsyth was struck by a yellow Dodge Ram in the city on June 1, 2020, and died later in hospital.

Police say the pickup fled the scene.

Officers arrested Melissa Whitegrass on Tuesday following an investigation by the Violent Crimes Unit.

The 37-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, dangerous driving causing death, and assault with a weapon. 

Lethbridge police say Whitegrass and Forsyth were in a common-law relationship until 2017. 

“Violent Crimes investigators are deeming this incident as a case of domestic violence,” police said in a release Wednesday.

Whitegrass has been remanded in custody and is to appear in court on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021

The Canadian Press

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