What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, Oct. 13

Alberta reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving weekend: 236 cases Friday, 259 cases Saturday, 246 Sunday and 220 Monday.

Domestic violence calls rose during pandemic, yet Alberta shelters remained quiet

A Perth Andover highschool sends students home after reporting one positive case of COVID-19. (NIAID-RML via The Associated Press)

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving weekend: 236 cases Friday, 259 cases Saturday, 246 Sunday and 220 Monday.
  • There are now 2,615 active cases in the province, up 390 since Friday. The majority of those cases continue to be in Edmonton, which has 1,444. 
  • Four additional deaths were reported over the weekend. There are 97 people in hospital, 13 of whom are in intensive care.
  • There are 464 confirmed cases in 209 schools, and 88 schools have outbreaks. 
  • In the biggest active outbreak in Alberta, at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, 11 people have died and 87 have tested positive for COVID-19. Two more units have been added to the watchlist. 
  • There is an outbreak of eight cases at Cavendish Farms near Lethbridge. 
  • As of Wednesday, the province will be switching to appointment-only testing. 
  • Additional voluntary measures  are in place designed to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton.
  • 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:

There has been a high number of no-shows for COVID-19 testing appointments, causing delays in available spots for those who need them, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday. 

She urged people to cancel their appointments online in advance if they can't attend. 

She also asked that Albertans embrace the challenges winter presents when it comes to physically distancing and continuing to stay safe. 

"There have been many sacrifices we have had to make over the past seven months, and while I wish it were possible to end these now, unfortunately we are not there yet," Hinshaw said. 

When COVID-19 arrived in Alberta, the pandemic brought with it a jump in domestic violence calls. From mid-March to mid-September, RCMP in Alberta recorded a 12 per cent rise in calls involving domestic violence over the previous year.

And yet many women's shelters, where victims often go to seek refuge, have remained empty due to fear of contracting the virus in a communal setting, a CBC News investigation found.

A total of 97 people are in hospital, and 13 are in intensive care, as of Tuesday. Labs have now performed 1,556,275 tests on 1,143,870 Albertans. 

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

  • Edmonton zone: 1,444, up by 15 from Friday. 
  • Calgary zone: 754, up 126. 
  • North zone: 127, up 22. 
  • South zone: 160, up 58. 
  • Central zone: 109, up 59. 
  • Unknown: 21, up 10. 

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

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 182,839 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 154,258 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 9,627.

A new report says COVID-19 has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots in Canada, amplifying the economic disparities that existed pre-pandemic.

The affordability index by BDO Canada Ltd. found that while one in five Canadians say they are better off, nearly two in five say their personal finances deteriorated during the first wave.

Canadians seeking to access new financial support after missing work because of COVID-19 appeared to briefly run into technical glitches as applications opened for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) on Monday.

Applications for the new benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The benefit is open to those who don't qualify for EI because they never paid into it or don't have enough hours.

On Monday morning, some people reported having trouble applying through the Government of Canada website.

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.

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.

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.