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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Sept. 2

The Alberta government will allow schools to decide how best to spend most of $262 million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 related costs.

Province's tally of active cases continued to climb to 1,403 on Wednesday, up from 1,398 on Tuesday

The Calgary zone surpassed the Edmonton zone on Monday in terms of total active cases for the first time in weeks, and it continued to to rise on Tuesday. Calgary now has 626 active cases, up from 590 on Monday, after dipping below 300 in August. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

The latest:

  • Alberta could scale back its relaunch in particular sectors should cases substantially increase, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health.
  • The Alberta government will allow schools to decide how best to spend most of $262 million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 related costs, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said at a news conference Wednesday.
  • The province's tally of active cases continued to climb on Wednesday, with 114 new cases, bringing the total to 1,403, up from 1,398 on Tuesday.
  • The Calgary zone surpassed the Edmonton zone on Monday in terms of total active cases for the first time in weeks, but the Edmonton zone reported more new cases on Wednesday.
  • Calgary now has 632 active cases, up from 626 on Tuesday, after dipping below 300 in August.
  • The Edmonton zone has declined to 538, from 542 on Tuesday.
  • Eleven regions around the province are under a "watch," which is declared when active cases surpass 50 per 100,000 people.
  • The highest ratio is in Clear Hills County, where there are 800.6 cases per 100,000 people.
  • A COVID-19 case has also been connected to Canyon Meadows School in Calgary, although the K to Grade 5 school decided to open as planned on Tuesday. 
  • Meadow Ridge School in Okotoks decided Monday not to reopen Tuesday after a staff member at the kindergarten to Grade 9 school was diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • The Peace River School Division, northwest of Edmonton, posted a notice on its website saying it was delaying the start of its school year until after Labour Day.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Nearly four months after the federal government pledged billions of extra dollars for low-paid essential workers, employees in Alberta have yet to see a cent of it.

While most other provinces have launched programs to reward workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with bonus payments, the Alberta and federal governments can't agree on how the money should be spent in the province.

Meanwhile, the Alberta government announced Wednesday it will allow schools to decide how best to spend most of $262 million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 related costs.

The province will distribute the majority of the funding, $250 million, to school authorities based on a per-student model, and it must be used to support additional COVID-19 related costs, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said at a news conference.

The funding can be used for staffing, adapting learning spaces, personal protective equipment, cleaning, supports for special needs students and online learning and teacher training.

Even though COVID-19 cases disrupted the reopening of two Alberta schools on Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said his government has accepted that such infections are inevitable and don't warrant closing down all classrooms.

Case numbers continue to be on the rise. Alberta racked up another 114 cases on Wednesday, after a weekend of high case numbers. Saturday's tally of 184 was the highest number of new cases reported for a single day since April 30, when 228 cases were reported. 

(CBC)

One more person has died, 50 are being treated in hospital, and nine are in ICU beds.

An outbreak at the Calgary Kidanemehret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church has accounted for 57 new cases. Hinshaw also reported Monday that there had been an outbreak of eight active cases at the Walmart Supercentre in Edmonton on Calgary Trail.

Hinshaw's next news conference will be this Thursday, Sept. 3.

Despite more than 500 active COVID-19 cases in the Edmonton region, experts say the mandatory mask bylaw is likely helping keep infections from skyrocketing. The bylaw, which came into effect Aug. 3, requires face coverings to be worn in all publicly accessible places.

An individual connected to Canyon Meadows School in southwest Calgary tested positive for COVID-19, parents were informed by letter Monday. The principal, assistant principal and an administrative secretary were in quarantine although the K to Grade 5 school planned to open on Tuesday.

Meadow Ridge School in Okotoks decided not to reopen Tuesday after a staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19, Foothills School Division officials say. Even though Alberta Health Services advised that students could safely attend class at the kindergarten to Grade 9 school as scheduled Tuesday, school officials decided Monday night to postpone the beginning of the semester. 

A decision has yet to be made on whether the 2021 world junior men's hockey championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., will be played with or without fans. The International Ice Hockey Federation's council will meet later this month to review the status of all tournaments in 2020-21, according to an IIHF spokesman.

A pregnant Alberta woman is urging the federal government to rethink its pandemic travel rules to allow her to return to the country to access medical care without leaving her soon-to-be adopted Haitian children behind.

The Calgary Board of Education released a how-to guide on what back to school will look like. Here's a look from elementary to high school. 2:46

CBC News is following four families as they navigate the return to school in the midst of the global pandemic, tracing how the reopening impacts them before and during the return. Here's the first instalment: Getting ready for school.

CBC Calgary also wants to hear from Alberta's parents, students and teachers in regards to how the process has gone so far.

The regional breakdown of active cases reported on Wednesday was:

  • Calgary zone: 632, up from 626 Tuesday
  • Edmonton zone: 538 down from 542 Monday
  • North zone: 167 down from 171
  • Central zone: 32 up from 27
  • South zone: 31, up from 30
  • Unknown: three

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

(CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 129,923 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 114,950 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 9,173.

Canada has announced that it has signed deals with four U.S. companies to reserve millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines under development in an effort to make sure Canadians are at "the front of the line" when a vaccine becomes available.

Premier Doug Ford is defending Ontario's chief medical officer of health amid growing calls for new leadership as the province enters a critical new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), is among those who have called publicly for Williams to be taken off the job immediately, whether by removal, resignation or retirement. Grinspun described Williams as a poor communicator and criticized him for moving too slowly on preventative measures.

The doctor who faced racist attacks and death threats after being blamed for a COVID-19 outbreak in New Brunswick says he has evidence he's not "patient zero" and is seeking a public apology from New Brunswick's premier.  Premier Blaine Higgs.

But an investigation by CBC's The Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada reveals new contact tracing information that casts doubt on the certainty with which Dr. Jean Robert Ngola was identified as the source of the outbreak that resulted in more than 40 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths, pointing to dozens of other people in the northern New Brunswick community who could have brought the virus into the area.

Trials conducted in Canada and six other countries found that treating critically ill COVID-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs  reduces the risk of death by 20 per cent, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment. 

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.

With files from The Canadian Press

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