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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, Nov. 10

Alberta now has 8,090 active cases of COVID-19, an increase of more than 1,000 since late last week, after the province reported 713 new cases on Tuesday and seven additional deaths.

Alberta now has 8,090 active cases, an increase of more than 1,000 since last week

This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. (NIAID-RML via Reuters)

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 713 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after reaching an all-time high of 919 new daily cases on Saturday. There are 8,090 active cases across the province, once again reaching a record high. 
  • Seven more people have died, six of whom are linked to outbreaks at continuing care centres. A total of 376 people have died. 
  • There are 207 people in hospital, including 43 in intensive care — another record high number. Just three weeks ago, there were 116 people in hospital and 16 in ICU. 
  • Of the active cases, 63 per cent have an unknown source of transmission. 
  • The province has resolved technical issues with its data system that were ongoing over the past week, and is once again able to provide details like a breakdown of case numbers by region. However, it is still unable to provide detailed testing numbers.
  • An outbreak at the Calgary Drop-In Centre has resulted in 15 clients and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19. There are also two positive cases at Alpha House and five at an Alpha House transitional facility.
  • The Edmonton Institution for Women is enacting heightened pandemic protocols after two inmates recently tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says the active case numbers are concerning and additional measures are being considered. Due to the surge in active cases in the province, she's resumed doing daily briefings with officials rather than twice weekly.
  • Infectious disease experts are pressing the government to impose more stringent public health measures to curb the surge.

What you need to know today in Alberta

Alberta reported 713 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after hitting a record high of 919 daily new cases on Saturday. Because of technical issues, the province was unable to provide further data over the weekend, like a breakdown of those numbers by region. Those numbers were once again available on Monday. 

Both Calgary and Edmonton now have more than 3,200 active cases each. There are 82 areas around the province under enhanced restrictions, with case rates as high as 724 per 100,000 people in Smoky Lake.

(CBC)

There are 8,090 active cases across the province — another record high — and 63 per cent have an unknown source of transmission. 

Hinshaw said Monday the province is at a critical juncture and will consider implementing restrictions to slow the spread.

"We have not yet turned the corner that we must turn. Cases continue to rise, and if we do not bend the curve back soon, we may see further surgeries being postponed or other impacts on health services," she said.

There should be consequences for 'egregious' actions during pandemic: Hinshaw

Edmonton

20 days agoVideo
1:21
Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says that people who egregiously flout health orders during the pandemic should face consequences. 1:21

Maintaining appropriate staffing levels in Edmonton hospitals has been a challenge as COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and some doctors warn that staff are burning out.

Hospitals were already understaffed before the pandemic began, said Shazma Mithani, an emergency room physician who works at Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital and Stollery Children's Hospital.

Kenney warned that AHS may need to cancel elective surgeries, as it did in the spring, to make more room for potential COVID patients, should case numbers continue to escalate.

There are currently outbreaks at nine hospitals. There is also one additional hospital in Calgary with units under watch. 

Dr. Laurie-Ann Baker, an ER doctor and associate zone medical director with AHS, said their biggest focus right now is on the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, which has six cases on three units. One person has died due to the outbreaks at the PLC. 

Despite the surging number of COVID-19 cases in the province, the Alberta government has rejected implementing tighter restrictions at this time. Instead, Kenney says he is urging Albertans to forgo parties and social gatherings in their homes.

"We've seen other jurisdictions implement sweeping lockdowns, indiscriminately violating people's rights and destroying livelihoods," Kenney said at a news conference on Friday. "Nobody wants that to happen here in Alberta."

However, Kenney said he wouldn't rule out new measures should cases continue to skyrocket.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has created a webpage with phone and email scripts for those who have tested positive to use when notifying their own close contacts. The province has announced that it will no longer directly notify close contacts who are not health care workers, minors (whose parents will still be notified if their child is exposed at school), and those who live or work within congregate or communal facilities.

Kenney urges Albertans to stop social gatherings at home

Edmonton

17 days agoVideo
2:42
Premier Jason Kenney is calling on Albertans to not host parties or large family dinners and is expanding the 15-person limit on social gatherings to all communities on the province’s COVID-19 watch list. 2:42

All Edmonton and Calgary residents are being asked to stop holding social gatherings in their homes, and all communities on the province's watch list are under a mandatory 15-person limit on social gatherings. 

The province is also recommending voluntary measures in both cities: wearing non-medical masks in all indoor work settings, except where people are alone in an office or cubicle, or a barrier is in place, and limiting themselves to no more than three cohorts. 

A snapshot of the active COVID-19 cases by health district in Calgary as of Nov. 9. (CBC)

Outbreaks at two shelters have left Calgary's homeless terrified to come in out of the cold for fear of catching COVID-19, says a group that helps people living on the streets. Be The Change YYC provides food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, tents and tarps three nights a week in the city's downtown.

Founder Chaz Smith said virus outbreaks at the Calgary Drop-In Centre and Alpha House have left the homeless facing a difficult choice.

"Do you freeze or do you potentially risk catching COVID?" Smith said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

The province will help reimburse faith-based and cultural centres for the costs of adhering to safety regulations during COVID-19.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and cultural centres can now apply to receive up to $5,000 in order to offset the price of improved ventilation, new signs, cleaning supplies and upgraded technology. 

The faith-based and cultural facility relaunch grant is taxpayer funded, and there is a total of $1 million available, said Culture Minister Leela Aheer at a press conference on Monday. 

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

  • Calgary zone: 3,434, up from 3,345 on Monday. 
  • Edmonton zone: 3,255, up from 3,175.
  • North zone: 542, up from 541.
  • South zone: 488, down from 497.
  • Central zone: 317, down from 330.
  • Unknown: 54, down from 77.

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 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 268,735 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 218,400 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 10,564.

Ontario on Monday reported 1,242 cases of COVID-19, with 483 of those in Toronto and 279 in Peel Region.

Peel Region, northwest of Toronto, is the only region in Ontario currently listed as "red" in the province's new colour-coded COVID-19 framework.

Faced with mounting cases, the province on Monday announced it is setting up additional testing capacity in Brampton, with three new testing centres and a mobile unit. 

In Quebec, a long-term care facility in Dorval that was hit hard in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is closing permanently. 

Health officials said Monday that while the situation has improved in some parts of the province, such as Quebec City and Montreal, it is worsening in others — including the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean area, which has more than double the provincial rate of cases per 100,000 people.

Saskatchewan hit a new high in daily reported COVID-19 cases on Monday as officials announced 190 new cases. Health officials also reported one additional death, bringing the province's death toll to 29. 

In Manitoba, concern is mounting over case numbers and the situation at some long-term care facilities dealing with outbreaks. Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer, said Monday he has spoken to Premier Brian Pallister about the possibility of stepped-up restrictions.

A group of nurses in Manitoba have signed a letter urging the province to impose tough new restrictions aimed at beating back COVID-19 as case numbers rise, saying "we need to lessen the burden on our already overstretched health-care system."

The province, which reported 441 new cases and three additional deaths on Sunday, has been wrestling with how to handle an uptick in cases and hospitalizations.

Winnipeg and surrounding areas have implemented sweeping shutdowns that include sports facilities and in-restaurant dining. 

B.C. Premier John Horgan  is urging people to "get with the program" and cut back on social interactions, warning that a return to tighter restrictions is possible if the province's COVID-19 case numbers don't come down. The province, which doesn't publicly report COVID-19 case data on the weekend, on Monday reported 998 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths since Saturday. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada is now recommending Canadians choose three-layer non-medical masks with a filter layer to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they prepare to spend more time indoors over the winter.

According to recently updated guidelines, two layers of the mask should be made of a tightly woven fabric, such as cotton or linen, and the middle layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric.

The Public Health website now includes instructions for making three-layer masks.

Self-assessment and supports:

With winter cold and influenza season approaching, Alberta Health Services will prioritize Albertans for testing who have symptoms, and those groups which are at higher risk of getting or spreading the virus.

General asymptomatic testing is currently unavailable for people with no known exposure to COVID-19.

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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