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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, Sept. 21

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on three units at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. One patient has died, and 14 other patients and four staff members have tested positive, according to Alberta Health Services. 

Albertans flooded provincial campsite booking system amid pandemic travel restrictions

Students in masks wait to enter Eric Harvie School in northwest Calgary on the first day back to school on Sept. 1. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The latest:

  • One patient is dead, and 13 other patients and four staff have tested positive as part of a COVID-19 outbreak that has hit three units within Foothills hospital in Calgary. A total of 57 staff are in isolation.
  • An outbreak of five cases has also been declared at a men's residence on the University of Alberta campus, making the Edmonton university the first in the province to contend with an outbreak.
  • Alberta reported 358 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the province's total active cases to 1,459, up by 35 from Friday.
  • As of Monday afternoon, there were 19 schools in Alberta classified as having outbreaks, which Alberta Health Services guidelines define as two or more confirmed cases at the same school within 14 days. 
  • There are now three schools where it's believed in-school transmission occurred.
  • A few dozen other schools in the province have reported a single case but the vast majority — more than 2,000 others — haven't reported any, Hinshaw stressed on Friday.
  • Restaurateurs in Calgary are speaking out against anti-mask patrons mistreating their staff. One owner says there have been enough disturbing incidents that he is considering having security in his restaurant.
  • Alberta will no longer recommend asymptomatic testing for the general population with fall flu season looming.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared on three units at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. One patient has died, and 13 other patients and four staff members have tested positive, according to Alberta Health Services. AHS said all at-risk patients are being offered testing and contact tracing for anyone who may have been in contact with infected individuals is ongoing. 

There are currently 1,459 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Of the 51 people in hospital, nine are in intensive care.

In Edmonton, an outbreak of five cases has been declared at a men's residence on the University of Alberta campus, making the university the first in the province to contend with an outbreak. The outbreak is based at St. Joseph's College, on the main campus. 

Albertans flooded the provincial campsite booking system this summer as the pandemic closed off other options for travel and leisure. According to data provided by the Ministry of Environment and Parks, there have been a net total of 265,624 reservations so far this year. 

In 2019, there were 175,128 reservations — the highest number in a decade until this year. In 2018, there were 162,238 campsite reservations. 

Substitute teachers from the Calgary Board of Education are in higher demand than usual this fall. The CBE said that in the first 15 days of the school year, it has experienced a 20 per cent increase in demand for substitute teachers compared to the same period in the 2019 school year. 

This year, the board is allowing substitutes to self-cohort by limiting the number of schools they work in so as to mitigate their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Alberta said Friday that the province's first likely case of COVID-19 transmission within a school had been confirmed, at a public elementary school in Edmonton, Waverley School. Since then, transmissions at two additional schools, Vimy Ridge School in Edmonton and Springfield Elementary School in Peace River, have been confirmed.

(CBC)

There are 126 cases in 81 schools, and 19 schools with outbreaks: 10 schools in the Calgary zone, six in the Edmonton zone, two in the North zone and one in the South zone.

In Calgary, drop-in COVID-19 testing is now being provided at the Bow Trail assessment centre, which is located inside the old Greyhound bus terminal. The Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre now offers COVID-19 testing by appointment only.

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

  • Calgary zone: 462, up 12 from Friday.
  • Edmonton zone: 747, up 36.
  • North zone:  181, down 16.
  • Central zone: 20, down four.
  • South zone: 45, up seven.
  • Unknown: 4, no change.

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 cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Oct. 8. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 5 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 143,649 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 124,691 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 9,256.

An Ottawa elementary school has become the first in Ontario to close due to COVID-19 concerns after two staff members and two students tested positive. Parents with children at Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School in Ottawa's Barrhaven neighbourhood were notified about the closure on Saturday.

Over the past week, as Premier Doug Ford and his government slapped new restrictions on private gatherings, Ontario reported an average of 335 new confirmed COVID-19 infections daily. That's triple the pace of the last week of August. 

So far, the rise in hospitalizations is nowhere near as steep. There were 63 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals as of Sunday. The hospitalization rate hit its low ebb in the third week of August, with a daily average of 38 patients in beds around the province.

In Quebec, residents of Montreal and Quebec City are being urged to reduce their social activities to a minimum and face a host of new restrictions as the provincial government there tries to curb a rapid increase in cases of COVID-19.

Quebec's two largest cities, and the Chaudière-Appalaches region, which is south of Quebec City, are under "moderate alert" beginning midnight Sunday.  

Quebec reported 462 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 427 new cases on Saturday. The province hasn't seen similar daily increases since late May. Hospitalizations have been increasing at a slower rate and are now at 138, up from 124 a week ago.

Face masks, like these ones in a Halifax garbage can, are just some of the disposable items Canadians are increasing their household waste with during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robert Short/CBC)

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.

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