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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, Sept. 9

The latest number of active cases show 1,585 in Alberta, which is a slight drop from the day before.

Alberta launches online COVID-19 map to track cases in schools

The province has confirmed 16 schools across the province have identified cases of COVID-19 among their school populations. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest:

  • Two or more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed Wednesday evening at Henry Wise Wood High School, leading to Alberta Health Services declaring a outbreak at the Calgary school.
  • Alberta's medical officer of health said on Wednesday afternoon that there have been 16 cases present at 16 different schools, and in each case the illness was acquired outside the school setting.
  • The province announced the launch of an online map to help parents track COVID-19 cases in schools across the province.
  • 619 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Alberta over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • The province's active case tally as of Wednesday afternoon was 1,585 — a 170-case increase since last Friday, when total cases where recorded at 1,415.
  • By Wednesday afternoon, 45 people were being treated in Alberta hospitals for COVID-19, including seven in ICU beds.
  • One new death was reported, bringing the total to 248.
  • A Lethbridge city council meeting was interrupted Tuesday by a crowd of 60 to 80 people who made their way into chambers to protest the city's masking bylaw.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says a newly launched online map will list every school that reports two or more cases within a 14-day period, in situations where the virus could have been acquired or transmitted within the school itself. 

"So far, none of the 16 schools that AHS has reported to us have met that threshold," Hinshaw said at the Wednesday press conference. "If needed in the future, the map will also list schools that have shifted into Scenario 2 or 3 to protect the health of students."

Hinshaw says the tool will track cases only where an infectious person has been present in school.

"Other numbers are not relevant to school transmission risk, and simply cause confusion and anxiety."

In Edmonton, schools include Archbishop MacDonald High School, Louis St. Laurent, École Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc and Ross Sheppard High, a public school in northwest Edmonton that has sent nearly 100 students into isolation.

Individual coronavirus cases have also been identified at Calgary schools, including Divine Mercy Catholic Elementary, Bowness High School, Bridlewood School, St. Angela School, St. Rose of Lima School, Lester B. Pearson High School, Notre Dame High School, St. Francis High School and Arbour Lake School, as well as W.H. Croxford High School in Airdrie.

One new case has been recorded at St. Wilfrid Elementary School — making a total of two cases there.

Raymond High School in Raymond and Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore are also dealing with individual cases.

(CBC)

Hinshaw said  students and staff are being asked to isolate if they come into close contact with an infectious case, which means spending 15 minutes or more near that person. She says as of yet, no one has picked up an infection from a school. 

AHS said that a single case in a school population is not considered an outbreak, so no case-specific details will be shared.

On Tuesday, a Lethbridge city council meeting was interrupted by 60 to 80 people protesting the city's masking bylaw.

The crowd was not not wearing masks or practising physical distancing, says Lethbridge Coun. Ryan Parker. However, he says the group remained "peaceful."

"They were there for less than five minutes and then they left … it was actually very symbolic and explains what a lot of people are thinking right now," said Parker.

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

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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.

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 installment: 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 Wednesday:

  • Calgary zone: 655, down from 732.
  • Edmonton zone: 613, down from 648.
  • North zone: 214, up from 212.
  • Central zone: 48, down from 52.
  • South zone: 45, up from 38.
  • Unknown: 10, has stayed the same.

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 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 134,194 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 118,149 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 9,197.

The Bank of Canada says the economic recovery from COVID-19 will need help from policymakers, which is why the central bank is committing to keeping its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 per cent for as long as necessary.

Like most other countries, Canada's economy fell into a deep freeze in March, when COVID-19 prompted widespread lockdowns. But as things slowly began to reopen in May and through the summer months, the economy began to recover, too.

British Columbia is ordering nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls closed, ending the sale of liquor at restaurants past 10 p.m. and telling venues to reduce the volume from music or other sources to conversational levels, as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. was experiencing a "second ripple" of cases of COVID-19 and that she was looking at bringing in new measures to help curb the spread of the virus.

Henry says the province plans to minimize the impact of B.C.'s influenza season by launching a major vaccination campaign, with the goal of vaccinating nearly two million people.

B.C.'s vaccination strategy will be on a scale "not yet seen," she said, and encouraged everyone in the province over the age of six months to get vaccinated against influenza.

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.

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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