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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Oct. 12

Alberta now has 2,225 active cases of COVID-19, after 277 new cases were reported Friday and one new death.

Those who have missed work because of COVID-19 can now apply for the new Canada Recovery Benefit

Applications for the new Canada Recovery Benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 277 new cases Friday and one new death.
  • In the biggest active outbreak in Alberta, at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, 11 people have died and 86 have tested positive for COVID-19. The latest death makes the outbreak as deadly as the Misericordia outbreak in Edmonton over the summer.
  • Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared in two units at the Misericordia Community Hospital in west Edmonton, Alberta Health Services said Thursday.
  • Eight patients and two health-care workers have tested positive, AHS said in a news release. Another 29 health-care workers are in isolation.
  • Alberta's chief medical officer of health unveiled additional voluntary measures designed to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton.
  • The Edmonton zone reported 1,329 cases on Friday, up from 1,250 on Thursday.
  • Another 277 COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday in Alberta, down from 364 on Thursday. Thursday's case count represented the highest new case count ever.
  • That brings the province to a total of 2,225 active cases, up 128 from the previous day. At the peak in late April, there were nearly 3,000 active cases in the province. 
  • As of Friday, there were 76 schools with outbreaks (of the more than 2,400 schools across the province) including 14 on the "watch" list, meaning they have five or more cases.
  • The City of Calgary on Tuesday joined the province in saying it isn't cancelling Halloween but issued a number of tips to help people mark the holiday safely.
  • Doctors and governments say the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more important than ever to get the flu shot. The influenza vaccine won't be available to the general public in Alberta until Oct. 19, but pharmacies say appointments to get the shot in the first two weeks are filling up fast.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta has never recorded more cases of COVID-19 among school-aged kids and teens than it did over the past week. Data from Alberta Health shows the number of new daily cases has continued to rise among five- to nine-year-olds and has shot up, especially, among 10- to 19-year-olds.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta' s chief medical officer of health, introduced new voluntary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Edmonton as the province surged past the all-time high of new cases, with 364 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths reported Thursday.

Surging case numbers in the Edmonton zone are a big concern for Alberta public health officials. Of the 2,225 active cases reported in Alberta on Friday, 1,329 were in the Edmonton area.

The capital region is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and Dr. Lynora Saxinger — an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Alberta — says Edmontonians should be concerned.

Some Calgary doctors are calling on health officials to be more transparent about recent COVID-19 outbreaks at hospitals — and publicly release investigations into those outbreaks.

Dr. Joe Vipond, an ER physician in Calgary and a co-founder of the Masks4Canada advocacy group, said he wants to know what Alberta Health Services learned from the initial outbreak at Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton.

Grades 6 and 9 students in the Calgary Catholic School District will not be required to take part in provincial achievement tests this year after the province allowed school authorities the discretion to cancel them because of the pandemic.

And in the capital, Edmonton Public Schools will ask the province to suspend diploma exams for high school students in the 2020-21 academic year, the board agreed unanimously at a meeting Tuesday. 

Board trustees said requiring students to take the provincially-administered tests would add pressure to an already stressful learning environment in the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the City of Calgary issued some tips for navigating Halloween, which echoed ones released by the province last week, on how to safely trick-or-treat, give out candy or celebrate the holiday in non-traditional ways.

You can find a roundup of tips and ideas for Halloween from the province, the city and creative members of the public here.

A total of 86 people are in hospital, and 11 are in intensive care, as of Friday. Labs have now performed 1,498,064 tests on 1,110,134 Albertans. 

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

  • Edmonton zone: 1,329 cases, up by 79 from Thursday.
  • Calgary zone: 628 cases, up by 24.
  • North zone: 105 cases, up by 8.
  • South zone: 102 cases, down by 10.
  • Central zone: 50 cases, up by 11.
  • Unknown: 11 cases, down by 3.
(CBC)

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

A snapshot of the active cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Oct. 8. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 7 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 181,864 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 153,219 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 9,613.

Canadians who have missed work because of COVID-19 can start applying for new financial support from the federal government on Monday.

The new benefit comes into effect as concerns rise about increasing job losses with Ontario and Quebec imposing targeted restrictions on restaurants, bars and fitness centres to slow the spread of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus.

Applications for the new Canada Recovery Benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency.

Applications also opened last week for a new caregiver benefit, after numerous calls since the start of the pandemic for added support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent due to COVID-19.

Women have seen a disproportionate impact on their careers and earnings because of the pandemic because they have largely shouldered the burden of child care and home schooling.

The caregiver benefit applies to people who miss work because of school or daycare closures, and whose children who miss school or daycare because they have contracted the virus or may have been exposed.

It also applies to people forced to miss work to care for family members who need specialized care that is unavailable to them due to COVID-19.

The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit.

The government has also created a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can't work because they contracted COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of the virus.

The multibillion-dollar suite of new benefits are taking effect following an acrimonious political battle in Parliament that ultimately saw all parties vote in favour of them but not before the airing of widespread concern that the Liberal government was rushing them through.

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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