What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Oct. 28

The province is bringing in mandatory limits of 15 people for most social gatherings in Edmonton and Calgary after Alberta reported 1,440 new COVID cases over the weekend, including a record of 572 on Saturday.

Alberta's 4,793 active cases on Wednesday again eclipse previous records

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks in downtown Edmonton. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Alberta reported 410 new cases on Wednesday, bringing it to a total of 4,793 active cases, another new high after hitting record numbers nearly every day for the past week.
  • That comes after the province saw 1,440 new cases over the weekend — more than the number of cases reported in the entire month of June, and nearly as many as were reported in the month of May. 
  • The Calgary Catholic School District says it's seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases this week, and it has led some schools to take more drastic steps to prevent the spread of the virus
  • As of Monday, there were outbreaks at 11 per cent of the province's schools, or 101 schools, 39 of which had more than five cases. There were 680 cases in schools.
  • Four more people have died, bringing total deaths in the province to 313. 
  • There are 125 people in hospital, 19 of whom are in intensive care. 
  • A total of nine employees of the Calgary Police Service, both civilian and sworn, have tested positive for COVID-19 since April. The force says 18 officers and civilians who work with CPS are currently isolating while they wait for results. The Calgary Police Commission heard Tuesday that an officer who was unaware they were positive transmitted the virus to another officer in the workplace.
  • In both Calgary and Edmonton, the positivity rate is now above four per cent, triggering a new 15-person limit for social gatherings in an effort to reduce the spread. 
  • 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. 
  • It also recommends that people in Edmonton and Calgary limit themselves to no more than three social cohorts.
  • A COVID-19 outbreak has spread at the Calgary Correctional Centre, with 65 cases as of Monday — 53 inmates and 12 staff. 
  • The next provincial update is set for Thursday.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta set another record on Wednesday with 4,793 active cases of COVID-19, an increase of 55 from the day before.

The death toll now sits at 313, up four from Tuesday.

The four fatalities include two deaths linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton General Care Centre, a male in his 80s and a female in her 90s. The third was a male in his 80s in the Edmonton zone and a female in her 90s in the Calgary zone.

Though the number of new cases dipped to 410 on Wednesday (down 12 from the day before), hospitalizations rose by two to 125. 

Alberta has reported a total of 26,565 cases since the pandemic began.

Before this past week, which 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.

The active case rate per 100,000 people is 116.5 in Calgary and 180.8 in Edmonton. 

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday that while she has often spoken about the need to "balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions," the province is now "losing the balance we have been seeking."

The temporary measure, which caps attendance at 15 for events where people will be "mixing and mingling" like parties and baby showers, applies in the Calgary and Edmonton areas.

The province is also recommending two 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. 

Multiple infected inmates at the Calgary Correctional Centre tell CBC News they are living through  "inhumane conditions" — in cells typically reserved for those deemed to be the jail's most disruptive prisoners — while a wave of COVID-19 rapidly spreads through the facility.

As of Monday, 65 people — 53 inmates and 12 staff — have tested positive for COVID-19. Based on those numbers, Edmonton-based criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel says the outbreak has the potential to be "disastrous" in the facility.


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.

Here's the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Wednesday.

  • Edmonton zone: 2,245, down from 2,290 reported on Tuesday.
  • Calgary zone: 1,788, up from 1,671.
  • South zone: 256, up from 254.
  • North zone: 324, down from 334. 
  • Central zone: 160, down from 165. 
  • Unknown: 20, down from 23. 
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 5:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 225,299 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, with 26,637 of those active. Provinces and territories listed 188,577 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 10,030.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered an emphatic defence Wednesday of the use of fiscal stimulus and deficit spending to sustain the Canadian economy through what she called the "coronavirus recession" — and promised to rein it in only after widespread vaccination brings the virus under control.

Canada hit another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, when the death toll reached 10,000 people.

That number may be inaccurate, though, and the true number could be higher. Statistics Canada has said the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic might have been under-reported. That's because some patients might have died before getting tested for the coronavirus.

The numbers vary greatly between regions. Most of the deaths — more than 90 per cent — have been reported in Quebec (6,172 deaths) and Ontario (3,103). Those provinces also account for 80 per cent of Canada's overall cases.

Ontario reported 827 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and four new deaths due to the virus. In total, 312 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 75 in intensive care.

Quebec reported 963 new COVID-19 cases, and 19 new deaths — with four of the deaths reported in the past 24 hours, 14 dating back to last week and one from an unknown date. The number of patients in hospital declined by 16 to 527 while the number of intensive-care patients dropped by two to 91.

British Columbia announced 217 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province up to 2,322. There were 84 people hospitalized, with 27 in the ICU.

In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday that targeted measures focused on COVID-19 in bars and nightclubs could come this week after dozens of cases were linked to several bars and clubs. The province reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases to 652. Health officials reported 24 hospitalizations, with six in ICU.

The Bank of Canada says it has no plans to change its benchmark interest rate until inflation gets back to two per cent and stays there, something it says isn't likely to happen until 2023.

The central bank said Wednesday it has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent. The news was expected by economists, as although the economy is showing signs of recovering from the impact of COVID-19, things are still a long way from normal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Canadians suffering from mental illness, opioid addiction and other substance abuse problems, says a new study released today by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which confirms anecdotal reports warning that the pandemic's health consequences extend well beyond the novel coronavirus itself.

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.


  • An earlier version of this story said nine officers of the Calgary Police Service had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. In fact, the force said nine employees of the force, both civilian and sworn, have tested positive have tested positive since April and 18 officers and civilians are currently isolating while they wait for test results.
    Oct 28, 2020 12:56 PM MT