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Alberta

Watch: COVID-19 now across the province. 18 new cases in Alberta

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COVID-19 update from the Province of Alberta, March 16

Aggressive public health measures continue to be implemented provincewide to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans, as cases have now been identified in all zones across the province.

  • 18 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 74. Cases have now been identified in all zones across the province.
    • 52 cases in the Calgary zone
    • 18 cases in the Edmonton zone
    • two cases in the Central zone
    • one case in the South zone
    • one case in the North zone
  • Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is self-isolating at home with minor symptoms consistent with a common cold likely due to the long hours that she has been working in recent weeks. Her symptoms do not appear to be consistent with COVID-19. However, as Dr. Hinshaw plays an essential role in Alberta’s response to COVID-19, she has been tested today.
  • One Edmonton zone and one Calgary zone case have been confirmed to be the result of community transmission. These are the same two cases that were discussed yesterday.
  • Materials have been developed to assist travellers returning from outside Canada so they know what to do and how to self-isolate. These materials will be distributed at all airports in the province.
  • The Provincial Court of Alberta and Court of Queen’s Bench are limiting operations. Visits to all Alberta provincial correctional facilities and young offender centres are suspended until further notice.
  • Commercial carriers are essential to the supply chain and are not subject to the current 14-day self-isolation travel requirements. This is consistent with the air travel industry and other provinces, such as British Columbia.
  • All Alberta Parks recreation facilities, programs, events and bookings are closed to the public and/or cancelled.
  • Student attendance at schools is prohibited until further notice.
  • Post-secondary classes continue to be cancelled. Campuses remain open at this time.
  • All licensed child care facilities, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs are closed indefinitely.
  • All long-term care and other continuing care facilities are advised to limit visitation to essential visitors only.
  • Places of worship are no longer exempt from restrictions on mass gatherings.
  • Canadian Blood Services reminds Albertans that the need for blood donors remains strong, and it is safe to donate blood during COVID-19. To learn more, visit blood.ca.

Access to justice services

Family, professional and volunteer visits to all Alberta provincial correctional facilities and young offender centres are suspended until further notice. If defence counsel require an in-person meeting, they must contact the appropriate centre director. If families have questions about their loved ones, they should contact the centre director.

Current jury trials are proceeding; jurors are required to report to court. Any counsel or juror showing symptoms should contact the court to seek instructions from the presiding judge. Those who received a summons to attend jury selection between March 16 and May 31 are released and do not need to attend.

Legal Aid Alberta intake services at the Edmonton and Calgary courthouses are closed until further notice. To apply for Legal Aid services, call the Client Contact Centre at 1-866-845-3425, Monday to Friday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Traffic First-Appearance Centres are closed until further notice. Albertans can visit www.albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/pay-fines to pay traffic tickets.

Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench information: www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/covid-19-suspension-of-sittings.

Provincial Court of Alberta information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/pc/home.

Alberta law libraries information: https://lawlibrary.ab.ca/

Child care

All licensed child care, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs in Alberta are closed indefinitely. Approved day homes are exempt because they care for fewer than seven children at a time, including their own. Whether child care is being provided by day homes or by friends and family, enhanced sanitation practices are encouraged. This includes ensuring handwashing facilities or hand sanitizer are available and children and visitors are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.

Information for travellers

Travel outside of the country is not being recommended at this time. 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 is working with Travel Alberta on a strategy to inform Canadians returning from the United States and Mexico about the need to self-isolate, and how to access medical care, if needed.

COVID-19-related information will be available for returning passengers at the international airports in both Edmonton and Calgary; tables with information sheets will be set up in the arrivals areas.

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.

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

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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