Calgary to establish central fund, delay census

Calgary officials outlined new steps in the city's fight against the COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference held Thursday, as Alberta recorded its first death as a result of the pandemic.

City officials outlined latest steps in strategy to fight back against COVID-19 outbreak

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced the latest measures the city is taking under the local state of emergency, which is expected to last at least until next Thursday. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Calgary officials outlined new steps in the city's fight against the COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference held Thursday, in the midst of Alberta recording its first death as a result of the pandemic.

"We got some tragic news today, that Alberta has now seen its first death from COVID-19," Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said. "It's a sobering message for us to think of, and we're thinking of that person and his family today."

Nenshi, along with city manager David Duckworth and CEMA chief Tom Sampson, outlined the latest steps the city is taking to contain the effects of the outbreak.

New fund

In an attempt to maintain essential services, Calgary will partner with Alberta Health Services and the United Way of Calgary and Area to establish a COVID-19 response fund, which will support local social services.

The fund will allow Calgarians to donate to one central fund which will be distributed to the local community.

Census delayed

The 2020 census has been delayed, as census workers require training and come face-to-face with other Calgarians.

The census will go ahead later this year, or in 2021.

Waste and recycling

Green cart collection will remain every other week, instead of switching to weekly collection this April.

No extra bags of yard waste will be picked up starting March 24. Black carts will be collected every other week, and no extra bags will be picked up, also starting March 24. 

Blue carts will also be collected each week.

Landfills in the city, including Shepard, East Calgary and Spyhill will stay on their six-day schedule, but will only accept credit cards and debit cards for payment.

Animal services

Calgary has suspended its no cost spay and neuter program and cancelled all previously scheduled appointments.

Calgary's Animal Services program remains open for now, but certain measures have been implemented to limit staff exposure. The city is asking that no stray animals be brought into the facility unless they are injured or in distress, and can't be taken to a vet.

First death

The news conference follows today's regular daily update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw at the Alberta Legislature, where she announced an Edmonton man in his 60s has become Alberta's first fatality.

The number of confirmed cases grew by 27 in the last day. There are now 146 cases in Alberta.

The province has warned Alberta might not see the peak of the current outbreak for weeks.

Previously, Nenshi said that starting April 1, utility payments for city services can be postponed with no penalty.


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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