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Alberta

Police arrest man in alleged sexual assault of eight-year-old girl in Edmonton

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EDMONTON — A man has been arrested in Edmonton in a case where police alleged an eight-year-old girl was abducted and sexually assaulted by a stranger while she walked home.

Police earlier reported the girl was walking home from another residence on March 10 when a male driver pulled her into his vehicle, sexually assaulted her and then dropped her off nearby.

Investigators say the girl immediately reported the incident to her parents, who were looking for her at the time.

Wade Stene, 37, was arrested at his home on Saturday and faces charges including kidnapping, sexual assault with a weapon, uttering threats, making child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Police say Stene reportedly lived and worked in multiple locations in Alberta and British Columbia including Drayton Valley, Fort McMurray, Vernon and Kelowna.

As a result, they say they are concerned there may be additional complainants in other jurisdictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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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march, 2020

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