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

The number of active cases in Alberta is the highest it's ever been, reaching 3,138 after 898 new cases were reported over the weekend. 

Number of active cases in Alberta is the highest it's ever been at 3,138

COVID-19 cases are rising in Alberta, and there are concerns that difficulties involved in contact tracing could hamper the province's ability to slow the spread. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The latest:

  • The number of active cases in Alberta is the highest it's ever been, reaching 3,138 after 898 new cases were reported over the weekend. 
  • Four additional deaths were reported on the weekend, including a man in his 80s at Foothills Medical Centre.
  • There have now been 12 deaths at the Foothills, making it the deadliest hospital outbreak in the province. There are 91 cases linked to the outbreaks, and the hospital says it still has no conclusive proof how the outbreaks started.
  • Of the 1,947 new cases reported this past week, 944, or 48 per cent, have an unknown source of transmission. Experts have raised red flags about the province's contact tracing as the number of cases with no known source remains high. 
  • A new outbreak was reported at Calgary's Rose and Crown Pub Friday, with six active cases and one recovered case linked.
  • An outbreak was also declared related to an informal Calgary social event "featuring a large number of Calgarians." Forty-two cases are linked to this outbreak.
  • The City of Calgary, with 998 active cases, is on watch. The City of Edmonton, with 1,604 active cases, is on enhanced restrictions. 
  • Three cardiology patients at the University of Alberta Hospital's Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Health officials are keeping a close eye on hospital capacity as Alberta's COVID-19 cases continue to surge, driving hospitalization numbers to a new high.
  • 117 people are in hospital, 18 of them in intensive care.
  • Ninety-seven schools currently have outbreaks, including 26 with five or more cases. 
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, will hold her next news conference at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

COVID-19 cases are rising in Alberta, and there are concerns that difficulties involved in contact tracing — both manual and digital — could hamper the province's ability to slow the spread. 

Of the 1,947 new cases reported this past week, 944 or 48 per cent have an unknown source. There are now 3,138 active cases in the province, 1,307 (42 per cent) from an unknown source. 

The province's active case total is now the highest it's been during the pandemic. The previous peak was on April 30, with 3,022 active cases. 

The City of Calgary was moved onto the province's watch list Friday. It now has a case rate of 63.7 active cases per 100,000 people. Edmonton remains under enhanced restrictions, with 129.2 active cases per 100,000 people. 

Starting Monday, the annual flu shot is available in pharmacies and doctor's offices across Alberta. All Albertas aged six months and up are eligible to be immunized for free. Health officials have said this year it is more important than ever to get the flu shot because of the pandemic. 

Dr. Peter Jamieson, the medical director for the Foothills Medical Centre, said there's still an active investigation into the outbreaks at the Calgary hospital that have so far claimed 12 lives, infected 91 people and sent hundreds of health-care workers into isolation.

Alberta Health Services confirmed last week that three cardiology patients at the University of Alberta Hospital's Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton had tested positive for COVID-19.

AHS said there was no connection between the Mazankowski and Foothills outbreaks.

(CBC)

An independent committee is calling for Edmonton city councillors and the mayor to freeze their salaries for the next two years as the city navigates the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 1,640,351 tests have now been completed on 1,190,239 people, with more than 42,000 tests completed on the weekend. 

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

  • Edmonton zone: 1,604 cases, up from 1,525 cases reported Friday.
  • Calgary zone: 998 cases, up from 820. 
  • North zone: 180 cases, up from 145. 
  • South zone: 191 cases, down from 202.
  • Central zone: 148 cases, up from 132.
  • Unknown: 17 cases, up from 12.
A snapshot of the active COVID-19 cases by health district in Calgary as of Nov. 9. (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

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 7 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 198,148 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 167,112 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 9,760.

With Canada on the cusp of 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, new restrictions are taking effect Monday in parts of Ontario and Manitoba in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Ontario government announced Friday that York Region would be joining three other COVID-19 hot spots in the province in moving back to a modified Stage 2 of pandemic protocol.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Territories said three people have received presumptive positive test results for the virus.

Newfoundland and Labrador also reported three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday related to travel.

Health-care providers in multiple provinces are struggling to keep up with demand for the flu vaccine, as Canadians hope to fend off a "twindemic" of influenza and COVID-19.

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 asymptotic testing is no longer available to anyone, but voluntary asymptomatic testing is available to:

  • school teachers and staff.
  • health-care workers.
  • staff and residents at long-term care and congregate living facilities.
  • any Albertans experiencing homelessness.
  • travellers requiring a test before departure.

Additional groups can also access asymptomatic testing if required.

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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