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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.

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Alberta

‘Tragic and senseless’: Prison for driver with brain tumour who killed pedestrian

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CALGARY — A judge has sentenced a man with a benign brain tumour, who lost consciousness while driving and killed a Calgary woman, to 27 months in prison. 

James Beagrie, 48, was originally charged with criminal negligence causing death after his truck hit Anjna Sharma, a mother of three, who had been on a walk during a work break in May 2017.

Beagrie pleaded guilty last fall to a lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death. 

Court heard he had been told by his doctor not to drive and, three months before killing Sharma, blacked out and got into a single-vehicle crash.

“I would describe this offence in two words — tragic and senseless,” Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Neufeld said in his sentencing decision Thursday.

“Mr. Beagrie ignored all of those warnings and drove anyway, and he will live with that for the rest of his life. It’s exactly that type of behaviour that must be denounced and deterred so other lives can be saved.”

Neufeld said Beagrie deserved a sentence of 30 months, but he lowered it to 27 months because of the man’s “precarious medical condition.”

“In my view, justice without compassion is not justice at all … he is on borrowed time himself. A sentence of 2 1/2 years may turn out to be a life sentence,” said Neufeld.

The Crown had asked that Beagrie serve 2 1/2 years in prison. His defence lawyer suggested two years.

The judge also ordered Beagrie be banned from driving for 7 1/2 years after his release.

“If you do recover, as I hope you will, you will have served your debt to society and will deserve a chance after a period of time to return to normalcy,” Neufeld said.

“This ordeal does not need to define the rest of your life, just as I truly hope that it will not define the rest of the lives and happiness of the Sharma family in the years to come.”

On Monday, Beagrie apologized in court and promised not to drive when he get out of prison, unless it’s a matter of “life and limb.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

‘Brutal and callous:’ 15-year parole ineligibility for man who killed father

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CALGARY — A man who killed and dismembered his father has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance at parole for 15 years.

A jury found Zaineddin Al Aalak guilty in December of second-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Mohamed Al Aalak. He was also convicted of offering an indignity to the man’s body.

Jurors rejected a claim by the 24-year-old that he was not criminally responsible because he was in the throes of a psychosis at the time of the killing and was unable to understand that his actions were wrong. 

Court heard that Zaineddin Al Aalak attacked his father from behind with a hammer and strangled him with his hands in July 2017. He dismembered and decapitated the body using power tools and dumped the parts at a construction site in Okotoks, a town south of Calgary.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Labrenz said the crime was “brutal and callous” and that Al Aalak disposed of his father’s remains like they were “pieces of garbage.”

“There was a display of brutality at the time — and there was displayed a lack of compassion –over the way the father was killed and the way his body was treated after his death,” the judge said while giving his sentencing decision Thursday.

The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but court heard submissions from lawyers about how long Al Aalak should have to wait before he could apply for parole.

Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail had requested a wait of 16 to 18 years.

“Part of Mohamad Al Aalak’s body was never actually recovered and found,” she said. “His right hand was never located by police and therefore was not able to be buried with … his remains … in Iraq.”

Al Aalak’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, suggested his client serve 13 or 14 years in prison before could ask for release.

Hepner said his client, still a young man who had been “the favourite son” before the killing, is remorseful.

“He has — and he knows — he has destroyed his family. He knows what he’s done. He knows what has happened.”

Al Aalak offered an apology.

“It was by my hands that he died and for this I am sorry and in grief beyond words,” he told the court.

“The reason this happened was because of an altered state of mind that I experienced. I am consigned to live with that reality nonetheless.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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