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Watch Press Conference: 2 more cases of COVID-19 in Alberta brings total to 4 cases. Tests likely to uncover other suspected cases

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From The Province of Alberta

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has announced the province’s third and fourth presumptive cases of novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

One case is a male in his sixties who lives in the Edmonton zone, while the other is a woman in her thirties from the Calgary zone.

Both cases are travel-related and they are recovering in isolation at home with support from public health officials.

“I want Albertans to understand that our public health measures are doing precisely what they were intended to do: detect new cases and take immediate action. These individuals have been isolated and actions are being taken to prevent the infection from spreading. Given the global spread of COVID-19, it is likely that new cases will continue to be detected in the days ahead. While the current risk of exposure to the virus remains low in Alberta, this may change in the coming weeks.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health

“The health system is taking every available measure to respond to COVID-19. This is a very fast moving, constantly changing situation, but Alberta is working closely with the rest of Canada to protect the public health. I want to express my deep appreciation for the many health-care providers who are mobilizing to address the risks of COVID-19.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

The third presumed case of COVID-19 is a man who had recently been on a Grand Princess Cruise before returning to Alberta on Feb. 21.

The fourth presumed case is a close contact of someone who had recently travelled in Europe, including visits to Ukraine, Turkey and the Netherlands.

Public health investigations into these new cases have already begun. Close contacts are being identified and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Health officials will actively monitor these individuals for symptoms during this time.

While the risk of catching COVID-19 within the province remains low at this time, Alberta continues widespread testing and aggressive public health measures.

All returning travellers are being asked to monitor their health and, if they experience symptoms, to immediately self-isolate and call Health Link 811. This applies only to returning travellers who are symptomatic with fever, or cough.

All Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/COVID19 for guidance around prevention, testing and other useful information.

Quick facts

  • The risk in Alberta is considered low at this time.
  • The most important measure that Albertans can take to prevent COVID-19 is to practise good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly, 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 linked to recent travel should contact Health Link 811 to see if follow-up testing is required.

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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

McDavid enters history books, Skinner shines as Oilers top Kings 2-0

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Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 300th career goal, against the Los Angeles Kings during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday March 30, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

By Shane Jones in Edmonton

Connor McDavid scored his 300th career goal, Stuart Skinner made 43 saves for Edmonton’s first shutout of the season and the Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Thursday.

McDavid became the first player in NHL history to have five different 10-game point streaks in a single season, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record of four in the 1986-87 season.

McDavid also became the fifth player in league history to reach 300 goals and 500 assists before playing 600 career games. Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Statsny and Bryan Trottier are the others.

Evander Kane scored the other for Edmonton (44-23-9), which has won three in a row and gone 12-2-1 in March.

The Oilers also moved ahead of the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division by one point.

Joonas Korpisalo made 35 saves for Los Angeles (43-22-10), which has lost two in a row on the heels on a franchise-high 12-game points streak.

Kane opened the scoring with just 52 seconds left in the first period. Leon Draisaitl made a beautiful behind-the-back spin pass to Kane, who was able to send a one-timer past Korpisalo for his 15th of the season.

Draisaitl picked up his 70th assist and extended his point scoring streak to 11 games on the play.

Skinner was later able to keep the Kings off the board midway through the second period, making a big glove save on Adrian Kempe’s breakaway backhand shot.

Edmonton outshot Los Angeles 27-24 through 40 minutes after a scoreless second period.

McDavid made it 2-0 3:53 into the third period when he picked off a pass and sped away on a short-handed breakaway to score his 61st goal of the season. It was also his fourth short-handed goal of the campaign.

Skinner made huge saves on Vladislav Gavrikov and Viktor Arvidsson in the dying minutes and collected his 10th win in the month of March to set a franchise record for wins in a single month.

NOTES

The Kings entered the game with a 9-1-2 record in March and the league’s best point percentage for the month, while Edmonton was second. Edmonton leads the NHL with 4.71 goals per game in March, while the Kings are fourth at 4.00. A major difference is that the Kings also had the lowest goals against per game at 2.08 during that span … Edmonton had also scored four or more goals in 11 of its 14 games this month and its power play has operated at 42.3 per cent during their 7-0-1 run coming into the contest. … Edmonton became the first team to have two players record 70 assists in the same season since the 2008-2009 Pittsburgh Penguins and just the 21st team in NHL history to do so … The Kings were without Gabriel Vilardi (upper body), while the Oilers were missing Ryan Murray (back), and Ryan McLeod (upper body).

UP NEXT

The Oilers play host to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

The Kings play the third game of a four-game road trip in Seattle against the Kraken on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.

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Alberta

Appropriate for Alberta premier to discuss COVID case with accused, deputy says

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Kaycee Madu shakes hand with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith after he was sworn into cabinet in Edmonton, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. Madu says it was appropriate for his boss to phone up a pastor charged over pandemic-rule protests and discuss the accused’s upcoming criminal trial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

Alberta’s deputy premier says it was appropriate for Premier Danielle Smith to phone up a pastor and discuss his upcoming criminal trial on charges stemming from protests over pandemic restrictions.

Kaycee Madu, who is also the province’s former justice minister, said Thursday that Smith is working to make Alberta better, adding that she is free to contact whomever she wants in pursuing that mission.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley labelled Madu’s comments a dangerous “la la land” rationale and the start of a slippery slope toward a “tinpot dictatorship.”

Smith faces renewed criticism over a leaked phone conservation she had with Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski in January about his looming criminal trial for his role at a protest over COVID-19 health measures that blocked the United States-Canada border-crossing at Coutts, Alta., in January 2022.

Audio of the call was obtained by the Opposition NDP and played for reporters Wednesday.

In it, Smith is heard commiserating with Pawlowski over her government’s trial tactics, offering to make inquiries on his behalf and saying the Crown is pursuing politically motivated charges against him.

Legal and political observers say the call is a profound breach of the firewall separating politicians from those who decide who gets prosecuted.

Smith has long been critical of COVID-19 masking, gathering and vaccine mandate rules, questioning if they were needed to fight the pandemic. She has called them intolerable violations of personal freedoms.

Madu, when asked by reporters whether it was proper for Smith to have called Pawlowski, said: “COVID policies were divisive for the people of Alberta. I am looking to see us pass that particular era and focus on the people’s priorities.”

He said Smith’s focus as premier has been on things that matter to Albertans, such as affordability, economic growth and taking care of the vulnerable.

“In the course of that particular work, the premier is free to speak with anyone that she wishes to speak with.”

Notley said those remarks, coupled with Smith’s words on the phone call, put Alberta on a slippery path to the politicization of its justice system. She called for an expedited independent inquiry into the matter before the writ is dropped next month for a scheduled provincial election.

“We’re on the verge of a tinpot dictatorship,” Notley said.

“You start ripping apart the fundamental tenets of democracy, you move into dictatorship. It’s that simple.”

Madu moved out of the justice portfolio under former premier Jason Kenney after a third-party report found he tried to interfere in the administration of justice by calling up Edmonton’s police chief to complain about a traffic ticket.

Madu was given a new portfolio under Kenney, then promoted to deputy premier when Smith won the party leadership and became premier in October.

Smith has not spoken to reporters since the audio was released, but in a statement Wednesday reiterated she has acted strictly within the parameters of advice from justice officials and has not spoken directly to Crown prosecutors.

“There is no need for further investigation of this matter,” Smith said in a statement Thursday.

Notley said the call is dramatic and disturbing proof of Smith breaching the judicial firewall.

“You cannot have unfettered power in the office of the premier. There are limits,” Notley said. “Our Constitution for as long as we’ve been a country has said that those limits are defined by an independent judicial system.”

Calgary-based pollster Janet Brown said the controversy will reanimate voter concerns with Smith.

“Why was she even taking a call from someone facing a criminal offence and talking about their criminal charges?” said Brown in an interview.

“This will give undecided voters pause. They will be wondering about her judgment, and her judgment is her Achilles heel.”

Political scientist Duane Bratt said Smith is exerting pressure on the justice system by constantly questioning justice officials about why they are pursuing COVID-19 cases.

“Even if this isn’t about talking to Crown prosecutors, this is clear pressure on (Justice Minister Tyler) Shandro,” said Bratt, with Mount Royal University in Calgary.

Constitutional law professor Eric Adams, with the University of Alberta, said the call threatens public trust in the courts.

“You expose the administration of justice to the reasonable concern of the public that some people have access to the premier and preferential treatment and some people don’t,” said Adams.

“Our system can’t function on that basis.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.

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