What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Oct. 14

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving weekend: 236 cases Friday, 259 cases Saturday, 246 Sunday and 220 Monday.
  • There are now 2,615 active cases in the province, up 390 since Friday. The majority of those cases continue to be in Edmonton, which has 1,444. 
  • Four additional deaths were reported over the weekend. There are 97 people in hospital, 13 of whom are in intensive care.
  • There are 464 confirmed cases in 209 schools, and 88 schools have outbreaks. 
  • In the biggest active outbreak in Alberta, at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, 11 people have died and 87 have tested positive for COVID-19. Two more units have been added to the watchlist. 
  • There is an outbreak of eight cases at Cavendish Farms near Lethbridge. 
  • Additional voluntary measures  are in place designed to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton.
  • Doctors and governments say the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more important than ever to get the flu shot. The influenza vaccine won’t be available to the general public in Alberta until Oct. 19, but pharmacies say appointments to get the shot in the first two weeks are filling up fast.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

As of Wednesday, the province has switched to appointment-only testing. 

That’s partly because there has been a high number of no-shows for COVID-19 testing appointments, causing delays in available spots for those who need them, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday. She urged people to cancel their appointments online in advance if they can’t attend. 

Students facing diploma exams in October and November can choose not to write them, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said on Tuesday. 

“We know these are challenging times and that’s why we want to ensure students and their parents have the flexibility to make the best decision for their own situation this exam season,” LaGrange’s press secretary Colin Aitchison said In a written statement. 

A slow economic recovery from the pandemic threatens to delay a full rebound in world energy demand to 2025, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

A vaccine and therapeutics could mean the global economy rebounds in 2021 and energy demand recovers by 2023, the IEA said in its annual World Energy Outlook. The agency advises Western governments on energy policy.

Wood Buffalo council passed a mandatory mask bylaw Tuesday, which will be enacted only when Alberta Health Services confirms 50 or more active cases of COVID-19 in the region. Currently, there are 26 active cases in the region in the northeastern corner of Alberta. 

A total of 97 people are in hospital, and 13 are in intensive care, as of Tuesday. Labs have now performed 1,556,275 tests on 1,143,870 Albertans. 

Here’s the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Tuesday:

  • Edmonton zone: 1,444, up by 15 from Friday. 
  • Calgary zone: 754, up 126. 
  • North zone: 127, up 22. 
  • South zone: 160, up 58. 
  • Central zone: 109, up 59. 
  • Unknown: 21, up 10. 


Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean

A snapshot of the active cases by district in Calgary as of Oct. 13. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 9:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 186,881 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 157,486 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,654.

WestJet will soon no longer fly to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City and drastically cut back its service to St. John’s and Halifax.

The Calgary-based airline said Wednesday it is eliminating 100 flights, which represent about 80 per cent of the airline’s service in and out of Atlantic Canada. The airline also says it is also suspending operations to Quebec City, by removing its flight between there and Toronto.

“It has become increasingly unviable to serve these markets,” CEO Ed Sims said. “Since the pandemic’s beginning, we have worked to keep essential air service to all of our domestic airports. However, demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies and third-party fee increases that have left us out of runway without sector-specific support.”

Five more hand sanitizers were added to Health Canada’s evolving recall list on Tuesday, which now includes more than 100 products that may pose health risks.

The newest recalled hand sanitizers are:

  • Last Best Brewing and Distilling Hand Sanitizer from Last Best Brewery (Calgary)
  • Nomad Hand Sanitizer (Lemongrass) from Rocky Mountain Soap Company (Canmore, Alta.)
  • Purify Hand Sanitizer and Antibacterial Spray from Prairie Potions (Winnipeg)
  • Gel d’alcool pour les mains avec émollients, 70% alcool éthylique en format de 250 ml from Sanix (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.)
  • Gel d’alcool pour les mains avec émollients, 70% alcool éthylique en format de 4 litres from Sanix (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.)

The products were recalled either for containing technical-grade ethanol without authorization, containing methanol or missing risk statements. 

Canadians seeking to access new financial support after missing work because of COVID-19 appeared to briefly run into technical glitches as applications opened for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) on Monday.

Applications for the new benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The benefit is open to those who don’t qualify for EI because they never paid into it or don’t have enough hours.

On Monday morning, some people reported having trouble applying through the Government of Canada website.

Applications also opened last week for a new caregiver benefit, after numerous calls since the start of the pandemic for added support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent due to COVID-19.

The caregiver benefit applies to people who miss work because of school or daycare closures, and whose children who miss school or daycare because they have contracted the virus or may have been exposed.

It also applies to people forced to miss work to care for family members who need specialized care that is unavailable to them due to COVID-19.

The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit.

The government has also created a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can’t work because they contracted COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of the virus.

Self-assessment and supports:

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19, but testing is open to anyone, even without symptoms. 

The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.

If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms have disappeared. 

You can find Alberta Health Services’ latest coronavirus updates here.

The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day. 

Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.

There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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