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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, August 2

Central Alberta has seen a significant surge in COVID-19 cases over the past month, with concentrated outbreaks in two areas in particular.

Active COVID-19 cases have surged in central Alberta over the past month

Calgary and Edmonton implemented mandatory masks in indoor public places yesterday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • There will be no new numbers released by the province this weekend.
  • Starland County and the town of Viking have seen notable outbreaks in the past week.
  • Mandatory mask bylaws have come into effect in both Calgary and Edmonton. Learn about where you need to wear a mask around the province.
  • The province reported one more COVID-19 death on Friday and 127 new cases of the illness.
  • There are now three students who have tested positive for COVID-19 at a summer school hosted by the Calgary Catholic School District, Alberta Health has confirmed.
  • Three more residents at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton have died from COVID-19, the facility said Thursday on its website.
  • The Calgary Board of Education has released its guidelines for re-entry this fall and says short-term online learning will be offered for Grades 1 through 12 for families who aren't comfortable sending their children to school during the pandemic.
  • New data from Alberta Health reveals just how long those sick with the COVID-19 are staying in hospital.
  • People who don't live in Chestermere will have to pay to get onto the city's beaches, in part to offset COVID-19 physical distancing enforcement, the community decided Tuesday. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Central Alberta has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases over the past month, increasing from just four active cases in early July to 252 as of Friday.

Two "local geographic areas" (or LGAs) in particular have seen increases this week — Starland County/Drumheller and Viking. More than 50 cases were identified in Starland County on Thursday alone.

Tom McMillan, a spokesperson with Alberta Health, said the cases are largely linked to known contacts and gatherings, and officials are watching the situation closely.

Calgary and Edmonton implemented their mandatory mask bylaws yesterday. 

We've curated a list of towns and cities in the province, outlining their corresponding policies on masks. We'll try to keep it updated regularly.

The effects of the virus are hanging over the Calgary Board of Education as it prepares for September classes with no additional funding to deal with COVID-19.  Board chair Marilyn Dennis says the CBE did get more money this year compared with last under a new model, but is still below 2018-19 levels and has considerably more students. 

Here's a regional breakdown of active cases and hospitalizations across the province as of Friday:

  • Calgary zone: 599 cases, 18 in hospital.
  • Edmonton zone: 272 cases, 26 in hospital.
  • Central zone: 254 cases, 14 in hospital.
  • South zone: 147 cases, 15 in hospital.
  • North zone: 107 cases, 13 in hospital.
  • Unknown: 7 cases.

What you need to know today in Canada:

The Canada-U.S. border could be closed for months. The federal government has already announced that the border will remain closed at least until Aug. 21, but several experts told CBC News that they predict the border won't open until sometime next year.

According to a Leger Marketing poll of 1,500 Canadians conducted last month, 86 per cent of respondents said they were opposed to the idea of reopening the border at the end of July.

The second wave is coming. Here's what public health experts say we should expect.

Toronto and Peel Region will move into Stage 3 of Ontario's COVID-19 recovery plan Friday, the provincial ministry of health said this morning, as Ontario reported its fewest number of new cases since March 23.

As more regions across the country — including Calgary — adopt mandatory masking policies, some anti-masking groups are joining forces with anti-vaccination proponents and adopting their techniques to spread misinformation and amplify their message

As of 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 116,715 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,558 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting indicates that 8,976 Canadians have died.

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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