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

Alberta has warned residents that drastic measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 will likely have to be in place for several weeks as the economic wounds continue to mount.

Edmonton man is Alberta's first COVID-19 fatality, the province announced Thursday

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates the number of cases of COVID-19 in the province. As of Thursday evening, Alberta had 146 cases. (CBC)

The latest:

  • An Edmonton man in his 60s became Alberta's first fatality due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Three Calgary Catholic school students have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Calgary police are moving more services online, including information checks, and have new protocols for visiting a station in person. More information can be found here
  • Calgary will partner with Alberta Health Services and the United Way of Calgary and Area to establish a COVID-19 response fund
  • The 2020 census has been delayed and will go ahead later this year, or in 2021.
  • Teachers at Calgary's two biggest school boards have been told they can now work from home
  • Those with a scheduled mammogram screening are being asked to delay their appointments until at least May 1.
  • Backcountry users are being urged to keep their risks to a minimum in order to avoid stressing the medical and search and rescue systems. 
  • Calgary Transit users will be asked to board buses from the back door starting on Friday.
  • Edmonton is looking at property tax deferals to help cushion the economic blow. 
  • On Wednesday afternoon, the province warned Alberta might not see the peak of the current outbreak for weeks.
  • There were 27 new confirmed cases reported on Thursday, bringing Alberta's total to 146.
  • Utility companies have agreed not to disconnect any customers for three months. Consumers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for up to 90 days.
  • Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said utility payments for city services can also be postponed with no penalty starting April 1.

What you need to know today: In Alberta

The timeline for the outbreak could be longer than many assume and the province said drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 may be needed until the end of May. 

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Jason Kenney also warned Albertans on Wednesday to prepare for economic hardship unseen since the 1930s

Those hoping to take comfort from the stress of the outbreak will have to find an option that does not involve adopting a pet, as shelters across the province close their doors

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Cases have been identified in all zones of the province:

  • 101 cases in the Calgary zone
  • 29 cases in the Edmonton zone
  • 10 cases in the North zone
  • Three cases in the Central zone
  • Three cases in the South zone

What you need to know today: In Canada

Details on the federal government's plan to send money to affected Canadians continues to be released, with funds expected to flow on April 1. 

Details on who qualifies and how to access the funds can be found here

What to do if you're self-isolating at home for COVID-19

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As of 9 p.m. ET Thursday, there more than 800 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

Presumptive cases are individuals who have tested positive, but still await confirmation with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. Not all provinces are listing figures on those who have recovered.

  • Ontario: 258 cases, including five listed by the province as resolved and two deaths.
  • British Columbia: 271 confirmed cases, including five recovered and eight deaths.
  • Alberta: 146 confirmed cases.
  • Quebec: 121 confirmed cases, including one recovered and one death.
  • Saskatchewan: 20 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • New Brunswick: Seven confirmed and nine presumptive cases.
  • Manitoba: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases. 
  • Nova Scotia: 14 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Prince Edward Island: Two confirmed cases.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: One confirmed and two presumptive cases.
  • Repatriated Canadians: 10 confirmed cases.


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.

Coronavirus: How does it spread?


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You play a role in how effectively the virus moves from person to person, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:48

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 Health Services' latest coronavirus updates here.

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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