What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, Sept. 27

As of Saturday afternoon, four patients had died and 16 others had tested positive for COVID-19 as well as 18 health-care workers at the Foothills hospital in Calgary.

As of Saturday, 4 patients had died and 16 others had tested positive at the Foothills hospital

CBC News has learned three units at the Foothills hospital in Calgary are under an outbreak watch — in addition to the two COVID-19 outbreaks that have resulted in four deaths. (Alberta Health Services)

The latest:

  • No new numbers will be released by the province this weekend. Numbers from Saturday and Sunday will be released on Monday.
  • A few weeks after back-to-school, COVID-19 cases are down among kids and teens in Alberta, data reveals. The number of new daily cases among 10- to 19-year-olds has actually been trending downward, while it's stayed relatively flat among those aged five to nine.
  • CBC News has learned three units at the Foothills hospital in Calgary are under an outbreak watch.
  • As of Saturday afternoon, four patients had died and 16 others had tested positive for COVID-19 as well as 18 health-care workers at the Foothills hospital in Calgary.
  • An outbreak has also been declared in one unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. According to Alberta Health Services, the outbreak involves three health-care workers. At-risk patients in the unit have been tested and no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified among patients. AHS did not identify which health unit was affected.
  • No new deaths and 153 new cases were reported Friday, bringing the province's total active cases to 1,497, up by 35 from the previous day's total of 1,462.
  • There have been 261 deaths from the disease in Alberta since the pandemic began in early March.
  • As of Friday, there were 35 schools with outbreaks, out of more than 2,400 in the province: 13 schools in the Calgary zone, 14 in the Edmonton zone, one in Lethbridge, one in St. Albert, one in Okotoks and five in northern Alberta.
  • Centre High in Edmonton became the fifth school in the province on the AHS watch list, meaning schools with outbreaks of five or more cases, joining Austin O'Brien, Vimy Ridge and Highlands School in Edmonton and St. Wilfrid in Calgary.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta is not in the long-dreaded second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may not see a huge spike in cases now that autumn has begun, says the province's top doctor, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

That's in stark contrast to the warning issued by the prime minister on Wednesday.

Albertans who tuned in to Justin Trudeau's televised address were told Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec are already experiencing the second wave of the pandemic.

Trudeau told Canadians they can control the second wave if they continue to wear masks, limit social interactions and follow other public health guidelines. But Hinshaw says despite increased daily case numbers in recent weeks, Alberta is not experiencing a second wave.

Alberta students have been back in class for a few weeks now and, so far, there hasn't been an increase in COVID-19 cases among school-aged kids.

Data from Alberta Health shows the number of new daily cases among 10- to 19-year-olds has actually been trending downward, while it's stayed relatively flat among those aged five to nine.

Hinshaw said the following weekly results were observed among those aged five to 19 since classes resumed:

  • 1st week after classes resumed: 205 cases on more than 11,000 tests.
  • 2nd week after classes resumed: 183 cases on more than 18,000 tests.
  • 3rd week after classes resumed: 122 cases on more than 14,000 tests.  

CBC News has learned three units at the Foothills hospital in Calgary are under an outbreak watch — in addition to the two COVID-19 outbreaks that have resulted in three deaths, dozens of cases and more than a hundred health-care workers in isolation.

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. 

Such outbreaks are raising worries about how hospitals around the province will be able to cope if cases again ramp up.

There are 1,497 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Of the 56 people in hospital, 14 are in intensive care.

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

  • Edmonton zone: 786, up 13 from the day before.
  • Calgary zone: 518, up 23 from the day before.
  • North zone: 129, down 1 from the day before.
  • South zone: 41, up 1 from the day before.
  • Central zone: 16, down 3 from the day before.
  • Unknown: 7, up 2 from the day before.

The University of Calgary announced on Thursday that classes will continue to be delivered with a blend of face-to-face and online formats for the winter semester.

Departments will structure face-to-face course components with a 30-student maximum cap as a guideline, with some possible exceptions. The winter term will see a reopening of University of Calgary campuses from 20 per cent to 30 per cent in-person learning, the school said.

And University of Alberta students and staff can also expect a mix of in-person and remote instruction during the winter semester, the school announced Thursday.

Shared pathways designed to help Edmontonians safely keep their distance on city streets this summer will be dismantled soon. Transportation officials said removing the shared pathways will better support increased traffic congestion this fall and cut down on maintenance costs this winter. City crews will begin removing lane closures on Sept. 29 and begin dismantling the shared streets on Oct. 27. 

A snapshot of the active cases by neighbourhood in Calgary as of Oct. 8. (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:

CERB expires, but many recipients to be added to an expanded EI program to cover pandemic job losses.

As of 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 151,589 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 130,315 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 9,302.

Manitoba recorded its second-highest single-day increase with 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, including 56 in the Winnipeg health region.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday that the province was moving last call at bars and restaurants to 11 p.m., and closing all strip clubs.The province reported 435 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

Grim job numbers released Thursday demonstrate how hard COVID-19 has hit the oil and gas industry in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the country recorded its largest ever drop in natural resources employment in the second quarter of 2020 with close to 43,000 workers losing their jobs. Employment in the natural resources sector fell 7.3 per cent.

Race-based data shows that Black Canadians are far more likely to get sick and be hospitalized for COVID-19 than other ethnic groups. A new study looking at antibodies in the blood of Black Canadians aims to understand the reasons in an effort to reduce the impact of the disease on Black communities.

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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