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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, Oct. 25

Alberta once again broke its own COVID-19 records on Friday when the province reported 432 new cases and a total of 3,651 active cases of the illness, but officials are not considering new restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Alberta once again broke its own COVID-19 records on Friday, reporting 432 new cases of COVID-19

No new numbers will be released by the province this weekend. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says she is concerned about the growing hospitalization rate in Alberta. (CBC)

The latest:

  • No new numbers will be released by the province this weekend. Numbers from Saturday and Sunday will be released on Monday.
  • Alberta reported 432 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a new record high.
  • The number of active cases in Alberta continues to reach new heights, with 3,651 on Friday, topping the previous peak of 3,519 a day before. 
  • A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Calgary Correctional Centre. Fifty-five cases were confirmed Friday. Fifty of them are inmates.
  • Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard tested positive on Wednesday afternoon. Premier Jason Kenney has tested negative but is self-isolating until next Thursday.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says she is concerned about the growing hospitalization rate, which is 3.1 per cent — five per cent would trigger additional restrictions. 
  • Four new deaths were announced Friday: a man in his 40s from the Calgary zone, a man in his 80s from the Edmonton zone, a man in his 90s connected to the outbreak at the Edmonton General Care Centre and a woman in her 80s linked to the Misericordia outbreak, previously reported by Covenant Health.
  • At least 52 active cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a wedding held earlier this month in Calgary, attended by 63 people. 
  • Experts have raised red flags about the province's contact tracing as the number of cases with no known source remains high. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

As of Friday, 50 inmates and five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Calgary Correctional Centre — a notable increase after the outbreak was initially reported Thursday.

Based on those numbers, Edmonton-based criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel says the outbreak has the potential to be "disastrous" in the facility.

"The prison population, on the whole, is much more vulnerable, health-wise, to disastrous consequences if they contract COVID-19," Engel told The Homestretch.

The Alberta government says it will stop setting monthly oil production limits in a bid to create jobs and to use available pipeline capacity.

According to a news release sent early Friday, 16 per cent of Alberta's crude oil production remains offline, which is down from 22 per cent in March, when COVID-19 cases in Alberta began to rise. 

Travellers entering Canada by land or air through Alberta will soon have the option of being rapid-tested for COVID-19 at the border, the province announced Thursday.

The mandatory quarantine period for returning international travellers will be maintained for now, but the 14-day self-isolation period could be shortened to about 48 hours if a traveller receives a negative COVID-19 test result.

This voluntary screening option will be available for foreign essential workers — truckers, health-care and other workers who are exempt from the current federal travel ban — and Canadian citizens returning to the country through Alberta.

This pilot project is expected to begin next month. The testing option will be in place only at border points in the Prairie province to start, but it could be rolled out in other places nationwide in the coming weeks, sources said.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta has reached 3,651, the highest ever recorded in the province. The previous record of 3,519 was reported on Thursday. Before this week, which has set new records on multiple days in a row, the highest active case total was 3,022, which was reported on April 30 at the peak of the first wave.

Hinshaw said the province is at a critical point, as hospitalizations increase, where more restrictions could potentially be implemented.

Concerns are growing, too, about the spread of COVID-19 in southern Alberta, where the number of active cases has jumped by nearly 500 per cent since the beginning of the month.

Lethbridge has the highest rate of active cases of all major cities in the province.

The City of Calgary was moved onto the province's watch list Friday. Edmonton remains under enhanced restrictions.

(CBC)

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at one of Jasper's most historic hotels.

Seven employees at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge have tested positive for the virus, the operator confirmed Thursday evening in an email to patrons. 

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

  • Edmonton zone: 1,751, up from 1,718 reported Thursday.
  • Calgary zone: 1,307, up from 1,260.
  • South zone: 234, up from 204.
  • North zone: 222, up from 198.
  • Central zone: 126, unchanged.
  • Unknown: 11, down from 13.
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 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 215,880 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 181,381 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting rose to 9,940.

Retailer Le Château is seeking court protection from its creditors while it winds down its operations and liquidates its assets. The Montreal-based fashion chain with 123 locations across Canada and 1,400 employees said in a release Friday that it has applied for protection from its creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, or CCAA.

The chain said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an "evident impact on consumer demand for Le Château's holiday party and occasion wear."

British Columbia reported 203 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, its highest one-day total since the pandemic began, as well as two additional deaths.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan saw its third-highest daily bump in cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 57 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Wednesday. New cases in Saskatoon continue to be primarily linked with outbreaks at local nightclubs.

Manitoba also reported its third-highest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases with 135 on Wednesday, most of which are in the Winnipeg health region, and one additional death.

Officials at the EU have moved to halt Canadians from travelling to the bloc of European nations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said Thursday a wide-ranging investigation into the Liberal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary so that parliamentarians can learn from the lessons and mistakes of the first wave — and better respond to the ongoing second wave and possible future waves.

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 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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