What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, August 13

All teachers and school staff across Alberta should be tested for COVID-19 before schools reopen to students in about three weeks, says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health.

All teachers and staff should be tested before schools reopen, says Dr. Hinshaw

The Huron Perth Health Unit is investigating 29 active cases of COVID-19, the highest number in the region since the start of the pandemic. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

The latest:

What you need to know today in Alberta:

The province reported on Thursday afternoon that 76 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified.

Three additional deaths were also reported: a woman in her 80s from the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton, a man in his 90s from the Heimstaed Seniors Lodge in north zone, and a man in his 90s from the central zone who was not in continuing care.

The total number of deaths in the province is now 220.

All teachers and school staff across Alberta should be tested for COVID-19 before schools reopen to students in about three weeks, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday.

She encouraged about 90,000 teachers and school staff to make arrangements to be voluntarily tested at least once before classes resume and regularly throughout the school year.

School gym rentals in Edmonton are suspended until at least November, leaving sports and community groups across the city scrambling to make alternate plans for the fall.

The school reopening plans released by the Edmonton public and Catholic divisions earlier this month include a policy limiting outside community access to all school spaces.

With evidence suggesting that ethnicity is one of the risk factors for COVID-19, some human-rights advocates want the Alberta government to collect race-correlated data on infections.

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. 

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.

There are hundreds of jobs up for grabs at Alberta's ski resorts as they prepare for a winter season without their usual pool of foreign workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions caused by the pandemic are giving locals a leg up.

Kendra Scurfield, director of communications at Sunshine Village, says the resort has about 800 paid positions on offer during a typical season.

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

This map provides an overview of how COVID-19 has impacted the province of Alberta as of Aug. 12, 2020. (CBC News)

Here's a regional breakdown of active cases across the province as of Thursday:

  • Calgary zone: 314 cases (11 in hospital, none in ICU).
  • Edmonton zone: 475 cases (21 in hospital, 7 in ICU).
  • Central zone: 88 cases (10 in hospital, none in ICU).
  • North zone: 104 cases (5 in hospital, 1 in ICU).
  • South zone: 52 cases (5 in hospital, 4 in ICU).
  • Unknown: 3 cases.
This map shows the total number of cases recorded in the Calgary zone as of Aug. 12, 2020. (CBC News)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 120,844 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 107,148 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 9,044.

Back to school is imminent for Ontario students, but important elements of exactly how that will look during the COVID-19 pandemic remain up in the air. 

Canada's mortgage 'stress test' level has fallen for the third time since the pandemic began.

The bar at which the finances of Canadian mortgage borrowers gets tested has just been lowered, making it easier for would-be home buyers to reach.

Five-year posted mortgage rates at Canada's big banks have inched lower in recent weeks, enough to compel the Bank of Canada to formally lower the average rate they base their calculations on to 4.79 per cent.

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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