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Alberta

Alberta to focus on seniors residences, Increase support for caregivers – COVID update

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw

From the Province of Alberta

Update 32: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (April 14 at 5:30 p.m.)

There are now 914 confirmed recovered cases of COVID-19 in the province.

With 138 new cases reported, the total number of cases in Alberta is 1,870.

Two Albertans have died since the last report, bringing the total deaths in the province to 48.

Latest updates

  • Increased funding is being provided for Alberta caregivers to expand supports and resources.
  • Military families needing child care will now be able to access reopened child care centres.
  • Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
    • 1,242 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 402 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • 107 cases in the North zone
    • 74 cases in the Central zone
    • 36 cases in the South zone
    • Nine cases in zones yet to be confirmed
  • Of these cases, there are currently 44 people in hospital, 14 of whom have been admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
  • 276 cases are suspected of being community acquired.
  • A total of 33 people have died in the Calgary zone, eight people have died in the Edmonton zone, six people have died in the North zone, and one person has died in the Central zone.
  • One of the recent deaths was at McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary and the other was at Shepherd’s Care Kensington in Edmonton.
  • Stronger outbreak measures have been put in place at continuing care facilities. To date, 214 cases have been confirmed at these facilities, with a total of 30 deaths.
  • There have been 79,695 people tested for COVID-19 and a total of 82,649 tests performed by the lab. There were 2,868 tests completed in the last 24 hours.
  • Any individual exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath, is now eligible for testing. People can access testing by completing the COVID-19 self-assessment online. A separate self-assessment tool is available for health-care and shelter workers, enforcement and first responders.
  • Effective April 15, continuing care workers will be required to wear masks at all times when providing direct patient care or working in patient care areas.
  • Starting April 16, workers in long-term care and designated supportive living sites will only be allowed to work at one location. This requirement must be fully implemented no later than April 23.

Continuous masking in health-care settings

More than 1.5 million masks have been shipped to 941 long-term care facilities, designated supportive living facilities, and addiction and mental health facilities across the province to support Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) Guidelines for Continuous Masking in Healthcare settings. AHS has also shipped and increased stock of four million masks to all AHS, Covenant Health, and subsidiary facilities. This week, 1,470 pharmacies will receive a total of 147,000 masks and 2.4 million gloves.

Increased supports for Alberta caregivers

The Alberta government is providing $3 million to Caregivers Alberta, a non-profit organization, to expand supports and resources for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

Psychosocial, along with other peer and community supports, are currently available through the toll-free caregiver advisor line at 1-877-453-5088 and online at caregiversalberta.ca for all caregivers, including those caring for someone with COVID-19 or in self-isolation.

Access to justice

The Provincial Court of Alberta has clarified its process regarding the criminal fine payment extension. For more information: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements.

Child care for military families

Military families needing child care will now be able to access reopened child care centres. Military personnel were originally not included in the list of provincial workers who can access child care, as they are overseen by the federal government.

The Alberta government is ensuring child care is not a barrier for military families so they can continue their essential work supporting, protecting and keeping Albertans safe.

Reducing spring wildfires and protecting municipalities

Alberta Wildfire is hiring 200 additional firefighters, invoking a fire ban in in the Forest Protection Area, implementing off-highway vehicle (OHV) restrictions on Crown land in the Forest Protection Area, increasing fine violations and funding $20 million more in community FireSmart initiatives to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season during COVID-19.

Alberta Parks is also implementing a fire ban in parks and protected areas. These early preparedness measures will ensure the province can effectively focus resources where they are needed most in the event of multiple emergencies happening at the same time.

For more information on wildfires, download the Alberta Wildfire app. Up-to-date information on fire restrictions, fire bans, OHV restrictions and general wildfire information is available at albertafirebans.ca or by calling 1-866-FYI-FIRE (1-866-394-3473). To report a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (310-3473) toll-free, from anywhere in Alberta.

Road tests

Alberta is extending the suspension of road tests until the public health emergency ends and while procedures are developed to conduct road tests that prevent against the spread of COVID-19.

Road tests will resume when it is safe to do so. Albertans who have a road test cancelled as a result of this suspension of service will be able to rebook online once the public health emergency ends or later, at no additional charge.

Mental health supports

Confidential supports are available to help with mental health concerns. The Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 are available between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week. Online resources provide advice on handling stressful situations or ways to talk with children.

Family violence prevention

A 24-hour Family Violence Information Line is available at 310-1818 to get anonymous help.

Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-402-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., in more than 170 languages.

Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are available at alberta.ca/COVID19.

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, and disposing of tissues appropriately.
  • 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.

Increased supports for Alberta caregivers

Government is providing $3 million to Caregivers Alberta to expand supports for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

Funding to the non-profit organization will help expand support programs and resources for the almost one million Albertans who are caregivers for family and friends, and ensure the many dedicated Albertans caring for their loved ones at home or in the community have access to the supports they need to maintain their well-being.

“Caregivers are essential to the well-being and quality of life of over one million Albertans. This is particularly true as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding to increase supports for caregivers is part of our government’s commitment to ensure that all Albertans are taken care of – during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Caregivers Alberta is the only community organization in Alberta dedicated to the diverse needs of all Alberta caregivers. Funding will help Caregivers Alberta expand supports and increase the reach of these supports so more Albertans can benefit. Supports include:

  • Developing a public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of caregivers and their work.
  • Compiling an inventory of caregiver supports across the province.
  • Expanding the hours of the Caregiver Advisor phone line.
  • Establishing a referral system to link caregivers and Caregivers Alberta through health-care providers.
  • Updating and expanding support programs.
  • Providing employers with resources to support caregivers in the workplace.
  • Developing a coaching program for caregivers.

“Developing effective caregiver supports so Albertans can age well in their homes and communities is a priority for our government. This funding will make a big difference in the lives of many Albertans and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these additional supports will have on the lives of caregivers and those of their loved ones.”

Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“Without family and friend caregivers, our health-care system would simply collapse – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will help support the almost one million caregivers across the province with caregiver-focused programs and services.”

Sandra Sereda, executive director, Caregivers Alberta

Psychosocial, along with other peer and community supports, are currently available through the toll-free caregiver advisor line at 1-877-453-5088 and online at caregiversalberta.ca for all caregivers, including those caring for someone with COVID-19 or in self-isolation. Medical concerns or questions about COVID-19 or how best to care for someone with COVID-19, are best directed to Alberta Health Services’ Health Link at 811. For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and tips on how to reduce your risk, visit Help prevent the spread.

Alberta has a comprehensive response to COVID-19 including measures to enhance social distancing, screening and testing. Financial supports are helping Alberta families and businesses.

Alberta

Alberta First Nation monitors hundreds for COVID-19 as it announces curfew

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SIKSIKA NATION, Alta. — A First Nation in southern Alberta has implemented a curfew as its health workers monitor more than 200 people for signs they may have developed COVID-19.

Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in video messages posted on Facebook that as of Thursday there were 21 known COVID-19 positive cases with links to the community west of Calgary, and that five separate and unrelated case clusters had been uncovered in the previous 12 days.

Crowfoot said that as of Wednesday, 258 Siksika Nation members were under “active investigation and daily followup” by the community’s health services team — a number he said had quadrupled in only three days.

On Friday, councillors approved a temporary curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time, with exceptions that Crowfoot said can be made on an as-needed basis for work or other reasons.

Crowfoot encouraged Siksika Nation members to co-operate with health officials if they call, and to avoid non-essential travel to nearby cities. 

He said the risk of community transmission is high and that each new case cluster makes it even harder to contact trace and isolate people fast enough.

“We realize you have freedom of choice but we don’t have freedom of consequence. If we choose not to follow these guidelines, the consequence may be that we contract the virus and spread the virus further through our community,” Crowfoot warned in a video message posted Thursday.

In a message posted Friday, Crowfoot said his community had met meeting with federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Alberta Indigenous Affairs Minister Rick Wilson to address shortfalls in resources for dealing with the pandemic.

Crowfoot said the community’s annual Sun Dance ceremony was continuing, but that each participant was being tested prior to entering and that health workers were screening people as they came and went.

“It is understandable that people may feel anxious regarding this current situation, but if we continue to stay vigilant to the public health measures and do our best to limit travel and to avoid gatherings we have a chance to slow down the spread on our nation and also give our health team a chance to do their job,” Crowfoot said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 4, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Attendance for Alberta MPs at special COVID-19 committee since the end of May

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EDMONTON — The average attendance for Alberta’s Conservative MPs for a special COVID-19 committee, which has acted as a stand-in for the chamber, was about 42 per cent from May 27 to June 18.

The only other Alberta MP, Edmonton Strathcona NDP member Heather McPherson, attended all 14 meetings. She says she’s shocked by the low attendance of her colleagues.

Here’s the attendance for the province’s 33 Conservative MPs:

— Edmonton Manning MP Ziad Aboultaif: 4 of 14 (29 per cent)

— Foothills MP John Barlow: 6 of 14 (43 per cent)

— Calgary Heritage MP Bob Benzen: 0 of 14

— Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins: 9 of 14 (64 per cent)

— St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Edmonton Centre MP James Cumming: 13 of 14 (93 per cent)

— Edmonton Greisbach MP Kerry Diotte: 5 of 14 (36 per cent)

— Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen: 10 of 14 (71 per cent)

— Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis: 12 of 14 (86 per cent)

— Calgary Forest Lawn MP Jasraj Singh Hallan: 6 of 14 (43 per cent)

— Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder: 7 of 14 (50 per cent)

— Edmonton Riverbend MP Matt Jeneroux: 0 of 14

— Calgary Rocky Ridge MP Pat Kelly: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Calgary Shepard MP Tom Kmiec: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Battle River-Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek: 13 of 14 (93 per cent)

— Calgary Midnapore MP Stephanie Kusie: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Edmonton-Wetaskawin MP Mike Lake: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Calgary Signal Hill MP Ron Liepert: 0 of 14

— Sturgeon River-Parkland MP Dane Lloyd: 3 of 14 (21 per cent)

— Edmonton West MP Kelly McCauley: 9 of 14 (64 per cent)

— Calgary Centre MP Greg McLean: 12 of 14 (86 per cent)

— Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner MP Glen Motz: 13 of 14 (93 per cent)

— Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner: 12 of 14 (86 per cent)

— Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards: 3 of 14 (21 per cent)

— Calgary Skyview MP Jag Sahota: 5 of 14 (36 per cent)

— Bow River MP Martin Shields: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Yellowhead MP Gerald Soroka: 12 of 14 (86 per cent)

— Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs: 12 of 14 (86 per cent)

— Edmonton Mill Woods MP Tim Uppal: 4 of 14 (29 per cent)

— Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Grande Praire-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin: 2 of 14 (14 per cent)

— Calgary Confederation MP Len Webber: 0 of 14

— Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga: 10 of 14 (71 per cent)

Source: Minutes for the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, House of Commons

The Canadian Press

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july, 2020

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