Calgary·THE LATEST

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, August 4

Masks will be mandatory for all school staff and almost all Alberta students when they return to school in September, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Tuesday morning.

Mandatory mask bylaws have come into effect in both Calgary and Edmonton

Edmonton public and Catholic school divisions are expected to release their re-entry plans on Tuesday, providing more details about how K-12 education will look for thousands of students during the coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The latest:

  • Masks will be mandatory for all school staff and most Alberta students when they return to school in September.
  • A total of 303 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province over the long weekend: 97 on Friday, 67 on Saturday, 74 on Sunday and 65 on Monday. There are 1,191 active cases in Alberta.
  • Five more people have died, bringing the total deaths in the province to 201.
  • Three deaths are tied to the Good Samaritan Southgate care Centre in Edmonton — at 24 deaths, it is now the deadliest outbreak in the province. 
  • There are 85 people in hospital, with 23 in intensive care. 
  • Seven flights that took off in the past 14 days have been added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's list of possible novel coronavirus exposures. One was a flight from Vancouver to Calgary.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

Masks will be mandatory for all school staff and most Alberta students when they return to school in September, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Tuesday morning.

Students from Grades 4 through 12 will be required to wear masks in all public spaces and can choose to wear them while seated in the class. Masks will be optional for younger students.

Grade 12 summer students start diploma exams this week, but a group of concerned students and parents wants the province to make those mandatory exams voluntary.

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.

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 Tuesday.

  • Calgary zone: 475 cases, 19 in hospital.
  • Edmonton zone: 275 cases, 26 in hospital.
  • Central zone: 211 cases, 15 in hospital.
  • South zone: 110 cases, 14 in hospital.
  • North zone: 115 cases, 11 in hospital.
  • Unknown: 5 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.

As Quebec begins to allow as many as 250 people to gather at indoor public events, up from 50, doctors are circulating a petition to reverse what they say is an unnecessary, dangerous move. Public health experts in Quebec say a second wave is coming.

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 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 117,031 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,595 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 8,986. 

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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