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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, August 10

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Monday that the varying daily new case numbers should not be a reason for complacency.

Five more people died of COVID-19 in Alberta over the weekend

The varying daily new case numbers should not be a reason for complacency, says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health. (The Canadian Press)

The latest:

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Monday that the varying daily new case numbers should not be a reason for complacency.

"There is some irony in the fact that my cautious optimism last week was followed by three days with new case counts over 100. It is a reminder that COVID continues to be with us and we cannot turn our backs on this virus."

Face masks have been mandatory in all indoor spaces in Edmonton since Aug. 1, but a program brought forward by the City of Edmonton this past weekend provides exemptions to those who are unable to wear a mask due to physical or health conditions. 

Edmontonians can go to any recreation centre in the city and can get an orange card that states, "I cannot wear a mask or face covering" in bold white letters. The card allows them to walk in malls, grocery stores and other indoor spaces mask-free. 

While most students across Alberta will return to school in person this fall, some southern Alberta First Nations will adopt a separate scenario because schools on reserves are a federal responsibility, Alberta Education says. 

At the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, students will return to school under what's being called Scenario 2 — partial resumption of in-school classes with some distance learning. 

The Kainai Nation — located in southern Alberta, with a population of 12,800 as of 2015 — says it's too risky to send kids back to school full-time and has created its own hybrid scenario. Students will be split into two cohorts, one of which will attend school all day on Mondays and Wednesdays while the other will attend Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Tsuut'ina Nation said in a release in late July that it will not be pursuing Scenario 1, but that it is reviewing Scenario 2. 

Last week, the Alberta government announced that masks will be mandatory for all school staff and most Alberta students when they return to school in September.

Students from Grades 4 through 12 will be required to wear masks in all public spaces and can choose to wear them while seated in the class. Masks will be optional for younger students.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in an emailed release on Saturday that "some have recently questioned the ability" of the provincial government to purchase the needed number of masks in time, adding that the government approached "experienced, established vendors" to ensure the masks would arrive before classes resume.

Alberta has placed two orders for 1.7 million masks, valued at a total of $4.2 million, with Old Navy and IFR Workwear.

CBC has curated a list of towns and cities in the province, outlining their corresponding policies on masks. We'll try to keep it updated regularly.

Here's a regional breakdown of active cases across the province as of Monday.

  • Calgary zone: 365 cases.
  • Edmonton zone: 388 cases.
  • Central zone: 157 cases.
  • North zone: 116 cases.
  • South zone: 61 cases.
  • Unknown: 3 cases.

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 10 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 119,451 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases.

Provinces and territories listed 103,715 of those as recovered or resolved.

CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,012.

Public health officials aren't doing enough to reach out to people from different provinces who may have been exposed to COVID-19 on flights, often stopping contact tracing at their own borders, an epidemiologist warns. 

Part of the problem appears to be that each province or territory is responsible for tracking cases within its borders, but flights often span multiple jurisdictions. It appears as though the federal government isn't tracing cross-border cases.

Canada's economy added 419,000 jobs in July and the jobless rate dropped to 10.9 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

However, it reported that this still leaves Canada's economy with 1.3 million fewer jobs than it had in February, before widespread lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19 began.

National figures on house prices from the Canadian Real Estate Association are out next Monday, and even while rental properties face a glut, sales and prices for homes in Vancouver and Toronto are both up sharply.

In Toronto, real estate board figures show detached home prices in July rose more than 25 per cent year over year — increases similar to the biggest boom years, from 2010 to the spring of 2017, of what many described then as a growing real estate bubble.

Thirty-five people tested positive for COVID-19 in Manitoba as of Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 182 — the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The Ontario government has cleared Windsor-Essex — the last region in Ontario that was still in Stage 2 — to move into Stage 3 of reopening as of Wednesday. 

Ontario reported its sixth-straight day of fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 last week, with 70 new cases reported Saturday and one new death. 

The province has seen nearly 40,000 cases of the virus and 2,784 deaths. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions also continue to decline in the province.

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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