What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, March 18
Alberta budget rushed through, WCS oil falls below $10 and U.S. border is closing
- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney outlined how residents in Alberta could access economic relief during a press conference held Wednesday.
- The Alberta government, in a marathon session, rushed through its budget last night, citing the pandemic.
- WestJet is warning passengers of possible exposure to COVID-19 on 14 flights between Feb. 28 and March 12.
- A barrel of Western Canadian Select oil fell below $10 on Wednesday morning.
- Canada and the United States will close their shared border to non-essential travel.
- The City of Calgary is ordering all international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon return to the city.
- As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
- Two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at CP Rail's Calgary headquarters on Wednesday.
- Looming cuts to Alberta nurses and public-sector jobs were paused during the outbreak.
- Oilsands giant Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said it would cut its capital budget this year to $2.96 billion, citing the COVID-19 outbreak.
What you need to know today: In Alberta
Closures continue to roll through the province after the government announced a state of emergency on Tuesday, meaning many Albertans will be out of work.
Those Albertans could see some help from the federal government, however, with up to $27 billion in direct support that was announced on Wednesday.
Alberta Health Services says it is looking at ways it can use recently retired doctors and nurses to help bolster the health system during the pandemic.
On a more basic front, the Alberta government is easing deadlines on vehicle registration and driver's licence renewals.
As of Wednesday evening, here's the total number of cases in Alberta:
- 83 in the Calgary zone.
- 27 in the Edmonton zone.
- 3 in the central zone.
- 4 in the north zone.
- 2 in the south zone.
Alberta Health also released a breakdown of the ages of people with confirmed COVID-19 in the province:
- 1 case of seniors over age 80.
- 14 cases of seniors ages 65-79.
- 16 cases of adults ages 55-64.
- 51 cases of adults ages 35-54.
- 14 cases of adults ages 25-34.
- 2 cases of adults ages 20-24.
- 4 cases of teens ages 15-19.
- 7 cases of children ages 10-14.
- 5 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
The big news today is the financial supports for individuals and businesses announced by the federal government, in addition to the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel.
That comes as the economy continues to struggle amidst the pandemic, with the price of oil plunging to historic lows, affected in part by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The number of confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada has risen to 727 as of Wednesday evening, with nine deaths — seven in B.C, one in Ontario and one in Quebec.
Efforts to slow the spread of the virus are being ramped up as the number of cases worldwide approaches 200,000. There are more than 198,000 confirmed cases in more than 160 countries and almost 8,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
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?
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.