What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, August 26

Alberta reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday but 127 new cases of the illness. A total of 1,176 active cases were reported across the province, an increase of 42 from the day before.

Majority of students in Edmonton-area schools opting for in-person learning

The majority of students in Edmonton-area schools are opting for in-person learning this fall. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

The latest:

  • As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 1,176 active cases were reported across the province, an increase of 42 from the day before.
  • The city of Edmonton remains under a COVID-19 watch.
  • Alberta reported 127 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. No new deaths were reported.
  • Across Alberta, 48 people were being treated in hospitals for the illness, including seven patients in ICU beds.
  • Loblaw Companies Ltd., which began offering COVID-19 testing for patients at a handful of its Shopper's Drug Mart pharmacy locations in June, plans to expand the program to all 234 of its pharmacies in Alberta by Sept. 1.
  • Around one in five mortgages in Alberta remains in deferral, the highest rate of any province in the country, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as the pandemic continues to take a toll on the economy.
  • The Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association announced it will postpone the start of all fall sports this September while the schools focus on back to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The province has posted a guide to how it will respond to cases and symptoms of COVID-19 that are identified in schools.
  • An outbreak at a Calgary chicken processing plant has led to 15 cases of COVID-19. There is also an outbreak of six cases at the Peter Lougheed Centre's mental health and addictions unit.
  • The City of Lethbridge has joined the growing list of Alberta communities to pass a mandatory mask bylaw. Effective immediately, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces including public transit. The fine for violating the face mask bylaw is $100.
  • Learn about where you need to wear a mask around the province.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: Don't worry if you missed your chance to ask questions in our Facebook Live at 1 p.m. Wednesday with host Shannon Scott and guests Marilyn Dennis, chair of the board of trustees for the Calgary Board of Education, and Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, an urgent care doctor working in downtown Calgary. You can still hear their answers by clicking here.


What you need to know today in Alberta:

Close to 64,000 Edmonton Public Schools students will return to the classroom when school resumes in Alberta next month. That equates to about 70 per cent of all enrolled students opting for in-class learning.

However, Alberta homeschool facilitators with school boards say the pandemic has led a lot of families to reconsider traditional schooling, and homeschool programs are experiencing a significant increase in enrolment.

The death toll in Alberta from the pandemic now stands at 235. The most recent person to die was a man in his 80s in the Edmonton Zone who was not in continuing care. The case was not connected to an outbreak.

As we draw closer to the first week of September, CBC Calgary wants to hear from Alberta's parents, students and teachers in regards to how the process has gone so far.

Across Alberta, mask use is required for staff and students from Grade 4 to Grade 12. In Calgary's public system and within the Catholic school system, mask use will be required for all students and staff from Kindergarten on. Some schools might have additional space for more distancing, while others are already at capacity. 

There are plenty of other questions parents might have about the return to school. For that, we've created this guide, which we'll update frequently in the coming weeks.

The province has 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.

Outbreaks being tracked by the province as of Tuesday include:

  • Peter Lougheed Centre, Calgary, five active cases.
  • Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton, two active cases.
  • Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, 18 active cases among residents and employees, 63 recovered, and 31 deaths.
  • Deadwood, Alta., (prayer meeting), seven active cases, 10 recovered.
  • Lilydale chicken plant, Calgary, 15 cases.

A Danish journalist working on a documentary about Indigenous resistance to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia was banned from entering Canada, despite presenting press credentials and a 14-day quarantine plan.

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 Wednesday:

  • Edmonton zone: 625 active cases.
  • Calgary zone: 362 active cases.
  • North zone: 137 active cases.
  • Central zone: 27 active cases.
  • South zone: 20 active cases.
  • Unknown: 5 active cases.

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


What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 126,200 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 112,239 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 9,127.

The federal government will transfer $2 billion to provinces and territories to help them with the safe reopening of schools, CBC News has confirmed.

Sources familiar with the arrangement say the provinces and territories will have broad discretion on how to use the money to deal with challenges in the classroom created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $2 billion will be divided up on a per capita basis based on student population.

With the new school year looming, many parents are forming their own learning or education pods that exist outside formal school systems this fall, with either parents or hired educators serving as teachers. But there's concern the trend will erode Canada's public education system and worsen already existing inequalities.

In British Columbia, anyone aboard a TransLink or BC Transit bus, boat or train and passengers aboard BC Ferries vessels is now required to wear a face mask to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Researchers in Saskatoon say their made-in-Canada vaccine effort has been slowed by a manufacturing delay.

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) says it needs to complete more studies using higher-grade materials than what was needed for early animal studies before it can move on to human critical trials. But given hold-ups from manufacturers, for the time being, they're left waiting.

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.

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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