What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, March 17

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a state of emergency in the province on Tuesday afternoon, while the federal government promises a package of financial supports is on the way to help millions of Canadians and businesses get through the COVID-19 crisis. 

Alberta declared a public health emergency on Tuesday, enacting strict restrictions on public gatherings

There are now 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, spread out in every region of the province. (Josee St-Onge/ CBC)

The latest:

  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a state of emergency in the province on Tuesday afternoon. 
  • Albertans are prohibited from attending events with over 50 people — that's rec centres, casinos and more. 
  • Grocery stores will remain open, so will restaurants and cafes, but their capacity cannot exceed 50 people. Bars that don't allow minors, nightclubs and casinos were to close immediately. Bars that serve food and allow minors can continue to operate under the new guidelines.Take-out, delivery and drive-through service is permitted.
  • Health Minister Tyler Shandro also announced the province was backing down on changes it made to the way doctors bill the province in light of the pandemic. 
  • The federal government promises a package of financial supports is on the way to help millions of Canadians and businesses get through the COVID-19 crisis — and Parliament may be recalled to pass emergency measures.
  • Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirms she tested negative for COVID-19 after self-isolating at home with cold symptoms.
  • In her daily update Tuesday afternoon, Hinshaw announced that 23 more people in Alberta have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 97. There are now 70 cases in the Calgary zone.
  • Five people in the province have been hospitalized, including two who are currently in intensive care units. The other 92 cases are all people who are self-isolating at home and are expected to make full recoveries.
  • The Calgary Emergency Management Agency says international travellers are now being ordered to self-isolate when they arrive in the city, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Town of Banff and City of Chestermere became the latest Alberta communities to declare a state of emergency, limiting gatherings at businesses and events to less than 50 people.
  • The Siksika First Nation and Blood Tribe also declared states of emergency on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
  • The economic toll of the pandemic continues to rise, with oil companies sending non-essential workers home and restaurants struggling with the effects of social distancing.
  • Late Monday, WestJet announced it was suspending international flights, including to the United States, starting March 22.
  • The Calgary Board of Education said individual schools will start reaching out to parents to set up times to pick up belongings and drop off school property. 

What you need to know today: In Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a public health emergency on Tuesday, placing restrictions on public gatherings. 

All events involving more than 50 people are to be cancelled. Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children's play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres and bingo halls.

Restaurants and cafes will be able to remain open, but with capacities of no more than 50 people and 50 per cent capacity.

Mass gatherings — including worship gatherings and family events like weddings — are now limited to no more than 50 people.

Grocery stores, shopping centres, health-care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services are not included.

Those restrictions are in place immediately.

Kenney said the government is looking at economic tools to help affected businesses. 

Earlier Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in that province.

Alberta Health also released a breakdown of the ages of people with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province:

  • 0 cases of seniors over age 80.
  • 10 cases of seniors ages 65-79.
  • 13 cases of adults ages 55-64.
  • 44 cases of adults ages 35-54.
  • 13 cases of adults ages 25-34.
  • 2 cases of adults ages 20-24.
  • 3 cases of teens ages 15-19.
  • 4 cases of children ages 10-14.
  • 3 cases of children ages 5-9.
  • 5 cases of children ages 1-4.
  • 0 cases of infants under one-year-old.

What you need to know today: In Canada

As of Tuesday morning, there were 466 confirmed and presumed cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

Meanwhile, on the national side, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Tuesday that a package of financial supports is on the way to help millions of Canadians and businesses get through the crisis — and he isn't ruling out an extension to the tax filing deadline.

He said Parliament could be recalled to bring in emergency economic measures.

The prime minister also said the government is examining the Emergencies Act to determine if it should be invoked, or if there are other ways for the government to take steps to protect the public.

He urged Canadians to stay home and follow recommended steps to stop the spread of infection, saying steps taken now can help save lives.

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Testing is focused on individuals who have developed symptoms within 14 days of returning from travel outside Canada, or who have had contact with someone diagnosed with the illness.

The province "strongly requests" that Albertans who have returned to Canada after March 12 self-isolate for 14 days. 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.

You can find Alberta's Health Services latest coronavirus updates here.

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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

Important reminder: The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

  • Have you got a news tip tied to the COVID-19 outbreak? You can reach CBC Calgary at or CBC Edmonton here


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