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Alberta

What are the new COVID19 measures and who do they effect?

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Can we have dinner with our close friend?  What exactly is a Cohort anyway?   Is it true that we can go swimming even though we can’t play hockey?

We pulled this information From Alberta.ca to help make sense of the new health measures in the areas of Alberta most affected by COVID19.

From the Province of Alberta

Who is affected?

Targeted measures apply to all communities on the enhanced list (purple zones)  plus affected communities in the Calgary area and the Edmonton area.
All purple zone areas Calgary Area1 Edmonton Area1 Fort McMurray Grande Prairie Lethbridge Red Deer
No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
15-person limit on family & social gatherings Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Limit of 3 cohorts, plus child care Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mask use encouraged in all indoor workplaces Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Employers in office settings to reduce employees in the workplace at one time Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Restaurants/pubs stop liquor sales by 10pm, close by 11pm (Nov 13-27) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ban on indoor group fitness classes & team sports (Nov 13-27) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ban on group singing, dancing & performing activities (Nov 13-27) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
50-person limit on wedding and funeral services (indoor & outdoor) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

How are we affected?

The main enhanced measure is gathering restrictions

A gathering is any situation that brings people together in the same space at the same time for the same purpose. Check with your municipality for additional restrictions in your area.

New gathering limits for all communities on the enhanced measures list

  • Stop holding social gatherings in private homes or outside your community
  • 15 person limit on indoor and outdoor social and family gatherings
  • 50 person limit on wedding ceremonies and funeral services
  • Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity
  • Do not move social gatherings to communities with no restrictions.
  • Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other business that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.

Unless otherwise identified in public health orders, these gathering restrictions are in place:

  • 200 people max for outdoor audience-type community events
  • 100 people max for outdoor social gatherings and indoor seated audience events
  • 50 people max for indoor social gatherings
  • No cap for worship gatherings, restaurant, cafes, lounges and bars, casinos and bingo halls, trade shows and exhibits (with public health measures in place)
  • keep 2 metres apart from people outside your cohort
  • avoid high-risk or prohibited activities
  • stay home and get tested if you are sick

What is a Cohort Group?

A COVID-19 cohort – also known as bubbles, circles, or safe squads – is a small group of the same people who can interact regularly without staying 2 metres apart.

A person in a cohort should avoid close contact with people outside of the cohort. Keeping the same people together, instead of mixing and mingling:

  • helps reduce the chances of getting sick
  • makes it easier to track exposure if someone does get sick

You should only belong to one core cohort.

Cohort types and recommended limits

Limit of 3 cohorts: your core household, your school, and one other sport or social cohort.

Young children who attend child care can be part of 4 cohorts.

What is a Core cohort?

Core cohorts can include your household and up to 15 other people you spend the most time with and are physically close to.

This usually includes people part of your regular routine:

  • household members
  • immediate family
  • closest tightknit social circle
  • people you have regular close contact with (co-parent who lives outside the household, a babysitter or caregiver)

Safety Recommendations

Core cohorts

Everyone in your core cohort should:

  • belong to only one core cohort
  • limit interactions with people outside the cohort
  • keep at least 2 meters from people outside the core cohort
  • wear a mask when closer than 2 metres with others wherever possible

Other cohort groups

When participating in other cohort groups, you should:

  • interact outdoors if possible – it’s safer than indoors
  • avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places and close contact settings
  • be healthy and not show any COVID-19 symptoms (see the full symptom list)
  • have not travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days
  • keep track of where you go, when you are there, and who you meet:
    • this information will be helpful if someone is exposed to COVID-19
    • download the ABTraceTogether app, a mobile contact tracing app that helps to let you know if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 – or if you’ve exposed others – while protecting your privacy

At-risk people

If you are at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and want to participate in a cohort, you should:

  • consider smaller cohorts, and
  • avoid cohorts with people who also participate in sports, performing and child care cohorts to minimize exposure potential

High risk groups include seniors and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes. Find out how to assess your risk.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Beehives and goat farms: Lacombe school shortlisted in global environmental contest

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Taylor Perez says she learned more about her passions while tending beehives, goats and fruit trees at her central Alberta high school than sitting through lessons in a classroom.

“These are all skills we don’t learn in regular classes,” says the 18-year-old student at Lacombe Composite High School.

“You’re not going to learn how to collaborate with community members by sitting in a classroom learning about E = mc2.”

Perez and her classmates are buzzing with excitement after their school’s student-led beekeeping program, goat farm, fruit orchard, tropical greenhouse and other environmental projects were recognized in a global sustainability contest among 10 other schools.

It’s the only North American school to be shortlisted by T4 Education, a global advocacy group, in its World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action contest.

“The projects are coming from the students’ own hearts and passion for taking care of the environment,” says Steven Schultz, an agriculture and environmental science teacher who has been teaching in Lacombe since 1996.

“They are going to be our community leaders — maybe even our politicians — and for them to know what the heartbeat of their generation is (is) extremely important.”

Schultz says the projects are pitched and designed by students in the school’s Ecovision Club, to which Perez belongs, and he then bases a curriculum around those ideas.

The school of about 900 students began reducing its environmental footprint in 2006 when a former student heard Schultz say during a lesson on renewable energy that “words were meaningless or worthless without action,” the 56-year-old teacher recalls.

“She took that to heart and a year later she came back and told me that she wanted to take the school off the grid.”

Schultz and students watched a fire burn down solar panels on the school’s roof in 2010, an event that further transformed his approach to teaching.

“As their school was burning, my students gathered in tears. That day I realized that students really care about the environment and they really care about the projects that they were involved in.”

Since then, 32 new solar panels have been installed, and they produce up to four per cent of the school’s electricity. After the fire, students also wanted to clean the air in their classrooms so they filled some with spider plants, including one in the teachers’ lounge.

More recently, students replaced an old portable classroom on school property with a greenhouse that operates solely with renewable energy. It’s growing tropical fruits, such as bananas, pineapples, and lemons, and also houses some tilapia fish.

Two acres of the school are also covered by a food forest made up of almost 200 fruit trees and 50 raised beds where organic food is grown.

The school also works with a local farm and raises baby goats inside a solar-powered barn that was built with recycled material.

“They breed and milk them at the farm because there are really tight regulations,” says Schultz.

“We take the excrement from the goats and the hay and use it as mulch and fertilizers for our garden. The goats also chew up the grass and allow us not to have to use lawn mowers and tractors”

Perez said her favourite class is the beekeeping program with 12 hives that produce more than 300 kilograms of honey every year.

“I love that they have different roles in their own little societies,” Perez says of the bees.

She says while working with local businesses and groups as a part of her curriculum, she learned she’s passionate about the environment and wants to become a pharmacist so she can continue giving back to her community.

James Finley, a formerly shy Grade 10 student, says the Ecovision Club and environment classes have helped get him out of his comfort zone.

“I made friends, which was a hard thing for me in the beginning. But now I have, like, hundreds,” says the 16-year-old, who enjoyed the lessons he took on harvesting.

“Taylor and Mr. Schultz were the main people that made me stay.”

Schultz says the winners of the contest are to be announced in the fall.

A prize of about $322,000 will be equally shared among five winners.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sunday, July 3, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Missing 13-year-old Edmonton girl found alive in Oregon, 41-year-old man arrested

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EDMONTON — Police say a 13-year-old Edmonton girl missing for more than a week has been found alive in the United States.

She was located following a week-long search that began when she was seen arriving at her junior high school but didn’t show up for class.

Edmonton Police Insp. Brent Dahlseide says the girl, who was reported missing June 24, is currently in an Oregon hospital for a precautionary examination after being found safe in the state early Saturday morning.

Dahlseide says a 41-year-old Oregon man will be charged with child luring and is expected to face additional charges in Canada and the U.S.

He says Edmonton police received assistance from other agencies in Canada, as well as from the FBI and other police services in the U.S.

Dahlseide says it’s believed the suspect came to Edmonton, but it’s not yet clear how he initially made contact with the girl or how she crossed the U.S. border.

“We would be speculating to say they crossed the border together, but I do know that they were located together, again, in the U.S. once they gained entry,” Dahlseide told reporters during an online news conference Saturday, noting he believed the two had been communicating online.

“I don’t know how long they may have been in contact with one another. I do know that the reason we’re going with a child-luring charge at this point is that it’s one we can support because of some of the online history.”

Photos of the girl have appeared on billboards and posters across Alberta this past week asking people to be on the lookout for her and contact police with tips.

Dahlseide said an Amber Alert was not issued because investigators lacked a description of a suspect or a suspect vehicle. He said police got that information on Friday and were drafting the alert that afternoon when they learned from Canada Border Services the suspect had crossed into the U.S.

At that point the suspect was no longer in Canadian jurisdiction, Dahlseide explained, which is another criteria for an Amber Alert. He said they made a deduction about where the suspect was going and alerted authorities on the U.S. side.

Dahlseide said he believed the arrest was made outside Gladstone, Oregon, just south of Portland, away from the suspect’s residence. He said the suspect’s name would not be released until charges are formally laid.

He said the girl’s family were informed early Saturday she’d been found safe and they are making arrangements to bring her home.

“I’m sure we likely woke them up, showing up at their door so early,” Dahlseide said.

Canadian investigators have not had a chance to speak with the girl or the suspect yet, Dahlseide said, and other questions remain.

He said investigators believe the suspect was in Mission, B.C. for three to four days, so they’ll be asking RCMP there to speak to people who may have seen him or the girl during that time. The FBI will also be able to help supply bank or credit card information to piece together the suspect’s movements, he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2022

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

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