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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, August 20

The Alberta Teachers' Association is calling on the province to push back the first day of school until after Labour Day to give teachers and principals more time to prepare for teaching through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alberta reported 103 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday

A woman wearing a protective mask to protect against COVID-19 while traveling in a crowded place. Alberta reported 82 new cases on Wednesday. (narongpon chaibot/Shutterstock)

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 103 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and one additional death.
  • There are 43 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care.
  • The province has posted a guide to how it will respond to cases and symptoms of COVID-19 that are identified in schools.
  • A Calgary trampoline park that as recently as three days ago was offering to supervise students who will be studying online is shutting down.
  • The entire city of Edmonton is now under a COVID-19 watch, as it has 55.9 cases for every 100,000 people. 
  • More than half the active cases in the province were in the Edmonton zone as of Wednesday — 631 out of a provincial total of 1,107.
  • On the outskirts of the capital city, Sturgeon County is also under watch, with a case rate of 57.2 per 100,000 population.
  • Mackenzie County, a vast area in the province's far northwest, now has a case rate of 190.3 per 100,000 population.
  • Pharmacies owned by Loblaws, including Shoppers Drug Mart and Superstore, will offer asymptomatic COVID-19 tests at all 234 locations across the province after Sept. 1. 
  • Learn about where you need to wear a mask around the province.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

The province reported 103 new cases and one additional death on Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths in Alberta to 228.

In a live update, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the increase in cases was likely due in part to teachers and school staff getting tested ahead of the school year. 

However, Hinshaw said the trends also suggest that social gatherings have led to higher numbers, and are responsible for the majority of transmission within the province. Officials have also seen some household and workplace transmission.

The province has also posted a guide detailing how it will respond to any students or staff who have symptoms in schools, and what protocols will be followed if COVID-19 cases are identified in classrooms.

Hinshaw said her office will continue to monitor new evidence as it emerges and will adapt advice about school re-entry plans as needed. She announced that she will be sending her own children back to school in an attempt to reassure Alberta parents.

The Alberta Teachers' Association is calling on the province to push back the first day of school until after Labour Day to give teachers and principals more time to prepare for teaching through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

New Alberta wildlife amendments go into effect on Aug. 25 that will allow Alberta residents to participate in guided hunting excursions that are normally designated for non-residents, all in a bid to help the province's hunting industry, which has struggled because of the pandemic.

Total consumer spending across the province this June was 5.2 per cent higher than in June of last year, according to a daily economic update from ATB Financial's research team.

(CBC)

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.

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

  • Edmonton zone: 622 active cases.
  • Calgary zone: 294 active cases.
  • North zone: 100 active cases.
  • Central zone: 33 active cases.
  • South zone: 31 active cases.
  • Unknown: 4 active cases.
(CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 123,490 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 109,822 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 9,085.

The federal government has spent more than $37 million to cover the cost of housing travellers returning to Canada who lack a safe place to quarantine for 14 days. Eleven hotel sites have been set up across the country, each with its own health-care staff and security.

Thousands of pages of internal government records related to the Liberal government's decision to task WE Charity — which has ties to the Trudeau family and members of his government — with running a $900 million student grant program were released Monday evening. Here are some highlights.

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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