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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Friday, Sept. 4

Alberta is easing restrictions on residents of continuing care homes, allowing them longer excursions without necessarily having to enter quarantine on their return.

46 people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including 9 in ICU beds

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:

  • The province's tally of active cases of COVID-19 continued to climb on Thursday, with 130 new cases, bringing the total to 1,415, up from 1,403 the day before.
  • A meat-processing plant located north of Calgary is now connected to 74 cases of COVID-19, Alberta Health has confirmed.
  • The Calgary Drop-In Centre said that as of Wednesday five people staying in its main shelter downtown had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. One new case of COVID-19 was also reported at Calgary's Alpha House.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, will provide her next update on COVID-19 in Alberta this afternoon. 
  • Calgary has 639 active cases as of Thursday, up from 632 on Wednesday, after dipping below 300 in August.
  • The Edmonton zone declined to 527, from 538 on Wednesday.
  • Twelve regions around the province are under a "watch," which is declared when active cases surpass 50 per 100,000 people.
  • Alberta could scale back its relaunch in particular sectors should cases substantially increase, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw,.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta is easing restrictions on residents of continuing care homes, allowing them longer excursions without necessarily having to enter quarantine on their return.

"The strict restrictions implemented this spring helped limit the spread of the virus but took a toll on other aspects of residents' health," Dr. Deena Hinshaw told a news conference Thursday.

Social assistance caseloads in Alberta have dropped dramatically during the pandemic, with the provincial government providing income support to roughly 10,000 fewer households since March.

Albertans who had previously been receiving income support from the province but started receiving federal CERB payments have seen the provincial benefits clawed back.

The province exempts some of the federal benefit from its income-support calculations, but for thousands of people receiving $2,000 per month under CERB, it adds up to a complete elimination of their provincial social assistance.

(CBC)

Fears over the spread of COVID-19 on Edmonton school buses are contributing to a citywide driver shortage — and students are expected to face delays in getting to class for weeks to come.

The City of Edmonton will attempt to buy underused hotels and apartment buildings to house homeless people this fall and winter, council agreed in a motion Wednesday. 

Mayor Don Iveson will ask the federal and provincial governments for money to purchase real estate that has dropped in price because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What back-to-school looks like in some Calgary schools

3 months agoVideo
2:46
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.

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

  • Calgary zone: 639, up from 632 Wednesday.
  • Edmonton zone: 527, down from 538 Wednesday.
  • North zone: 174, up from 167.
  • Central zone: 36, up from 32.
  • South zone: 35, up from 31.
  • Unknown: 4.

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 8 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 130,491 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 115,444 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 9,180.

Since Canada imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions in late March, more than four million people have entered the country. 

While that's far fewer than normal, sightings of U.S. licence plates or international flights landing have been sparking concerns that foreigners have found ways to sneak in.

The World Health Organization does not expect widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year, a spokesperson said on Friday, stressing the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

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.

In a precedent-setting ruling, an Ontario Superior Court judge has sided with a parent who wants her son to return to school over the objections of the child's father, who insisted the child take his classes online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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