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Alberta

COVID19 spreading events – Premier Kenney asks Calgary and Edmonton residents to stop hosting gatherings

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From the Province of Alberta

Strong public health measures are being implemented to protect the health system and limit the spread of COVID-19.

Expanded mandatory and voluntary limits on social gatherings are now in place to help reduce growing caseloads.

New COVID-19 measures

  • Effective immediately, new mandatory and voluntary public health measures will help protect the health system and limit the spread of COVID-19.
    • All Edmonton and Calgary residents should stop holding social gatherings within their homes and instead socialize in structured settings where it is easier to limit risk of exposure.
    • The mandatory 15-person limit on social gatherings is being expanded to all communities on the watch list.
    • Voluntary measures to limit cohorts to no more than three and to wear masks in the workplace unless able to safely distance are also strongly recommended for any community on the watch list, regardless of location.
  • Additional measures to bolster Alberta’s public health response:
    • AHS is prioritizing the hiring of about 380 additional contact tracing staff that will expand the contact tracing team to more than 1,100 people.
    • To support contact tracing, all Albertans should download ABTraceTogether, Alberta’s contact tracing app.
  • Alberta will also be shifting back to daily reporting of case numbers and information, including on weekends and holidays.

Latest updates

  • To date, 24,684 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
  • There are currently 6,822 active cases in the province.
  • Over the last 48 hours:
    • 802 new cases were identified on Nov. 4
    • 609 new cases were identified on Nov. 5
  • Alberta labs have now performed 1,869,192 tests on 1,305,540 people.
  • There were nine additional deaths since Nov. 3, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 352.
  • All zones across the province have cases:
    • Calgary Zone: 2,886 active cases and 10,966 recovered
    • South Zone: 398 active cases and 2,216 recovered
    • Edmonton Zone: 2,819 active cases and 8,713 recovered
    • North Zone: 431 active cases and 1,821 recovered
    • Central Zone: 255 active cases and 914 recovered
    • 33 active cases and 54 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
    • Additional information, including case totals, is online.
  • There are 392 active cases and 1,631 recovered cases at continuing care facilities; 221 facility residents have died.
  • School case information will be updated on Monday.

Updated contact tracing approach

  • Alberta is piloting a targeted contact testing approach. This will make contact tracing faster and focus on populations at greatest risk of illness and further spreading COVID-19.
  • Alberta Health Services will directly notify close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases in three priority groups only:
    • health-care workers
    • minors (parents will still be notified if their child has been exposed in a school setting)
    • individuals who live or work within congregate or communal facilities
  • AHS will no longer directly notify close contacts outside of these three priority groups, at this time.
  • Albertans outside the priority groups who test positive will be asked to notify their own close contacts.
  • AHS will continue to directly notify all positive cases of COVID-19 of their result, identify priority contacts that AHS will notify, and provide the case with guidance on notifying their own contacts.

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Alberta

Calgary panda pair heading home to China after pandemic crimps zoo’s bamboo supplies

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CALGARY — The Calgary Zoo says two giant pandas are on their way home to China today.

The zoo said in May that it would be sending the pair back early because the COVID-19 pandemic was making it difficult to source bamboo.

The plant makes up 99 per cent of the animals’ diet and the zoo has said it was an expensive and all-consuming effort to cobble together supplies from across North America.

The zoo says on Twitter it was a difficult decision to send the pandas home three years earlier than planned.

It says it took months of hard work to secure international permits to get the pandas home.

The zoo posted photos of reams of paperwork needed for the journey, the crates that were to carry the pandas and the Lufthansa Cargo plane that was to take them to China.

The two adults, Er Shun and Da Mao, were on loan from China to Canadian zoos as part of a 10-year deal signed in 2012. They were to stay in Calgary until 2023.

Two cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, were born in Toronto in 2015. They were sent to China as planned in January.

The price tag to have the pandas in Calgary was around $30 million, including $14.4 million for the Panda Passage exhibit itself. Expanded parking lots, washrooms and restaurants were also required to accommodate an expected influx of visitors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta adds 700 enforcers to stop COVID-19 rule-breakers as hospitalizations climb

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CALGARY — Alberta is giving 700 more peace officers the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as hospitalizations for the virus continue to climb in the province. 

“We are not asking these officers to stop cold their day-to-day priorities or to harass responsible Albertans going about their everyday lives,” Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Friday, as Alberta reported 1,227 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths. 

Police officers and health inspectors also have the ability to enforce the rules. 

Federal data shows that as of Friday, Alberta had the highest seven-day infection rate in Canada with 209 cases per 100,000 people. 

Alberta has 405 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 86 in intensive care. A week ago, there were 55 patients in intensive care with COVID-19. 

Postponing surgeries is one of the ways the province is freeing up space to accommodate more people severely ill with the virus. 

New measures came into effect Friday to help blunt the spike in cases. Private indoor social gatherings are banned, capacity limits have been imposed on stores and students between grades 7 and 12 switch to remote learning on Monday. 

Fines for breaking the rules range from $1,000 to $100,000 in extreme cases that make it to court. 

When asked whether there would be crackdowns on anti-mask rallies, Madu said police will make independent decisions. 

“But as minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable.”

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she is disappointed to hear about Alberta Health Services inspectors being verbally abused. 

“Nobody deserves that, least of all the people who are working to keep all of us safe,” she said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. 

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

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november, 2020

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