What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, July 16

On Thursday, the province reported two more COVID-19 deaths and 120 new cases of the illness, a surge that pushed the provincial total of active cases to 807.

Alberta Health has declared Calgary-Centre and Calgary-Elbow under "watch" for COVID-19

Canada's Communications Security Establishment has long been warning that sophisticated threat actors could target Canadian medical research labs working on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. (Bonnie Allen/CBC)

The latest:

  • Alberta Health has declared Calgary-Centre and Calgary-Elbow under "watch" for COVID-19.
  • Alberta reported 120 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as the number of active cases in the province surged above 807.
  • Six cases of COVID-19 have been linked with a restaurant in downtown Calgary, with the company saying it has voluntarily closed the location to conduct a deep clean.
  • Alberta's top public health official worries some people may no longer be listening to her warnings to keep up the COVID-19 precautions, such as vigilant hand-washing and physical distancing. She pointed to a worrisome uptick in new coronavirus cases in the province including among younger people. 
  • An inmate at the Edmonton Remand Centre tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.
  • The increasing number of COVID-19 cases come amid a dispute between the provincial government and Alberta doctors. Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro has directed the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to change its standards of practice for physicians by July 20 in an attempt to stop the province's doctors from leaving their practices en masse due to an ongoing dispute over pay.
  • Calgary's housing market is regaining some pre-COVID-19 signs of health as sales figures rise, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. However, prices in the Calgary market are continuing their downward trend.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta Health has declared Calgary-Centre and Calgary-Elbow under "watch" for COVID-19, coming as the province's daily tally of new cases surged above 100 for the first time since the start of May.

The "watch" designation for a health region from Alberta Health means the area has risen above 50 active cases per 100,000 people.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said she's also concerned that more younger people being infected with the virus.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has added four new flights — three domestic and one international — to the public advisory list of flights that carried at least one passenger infected with COVID-19. The flights were:

  • July 2: WestJet 460, Kelowna to Calgary.
  • July 5: WestJet 186, Vancouver to Edmonton.
  • July 5: WestJet 3312, Kelowna to Edmonton.
  • July 5: Korean Air 071, Incheon, South Korea, to Vancouver.

On Thursday, the province reported two more COVID-19 deaths and 120 new cases of the illness, a surge that pushed the provincial total of active cases to 807.

As of Thursday afternoon, this was the breakdown of active cases across the province:

  • Calgary zone: 362
  • Edmonton zone: 217
  • South zone: 90
  • Central zone: 75
  • North zone: 55
  • Unknown: eight

Six cases of COVID-19 have been linked with a Cactus Club restaurant in downtown Calgary, with the company saying it has voluntarily closed the location to conduct a deep clean.

Guests who visited the Stephen Avenue Cactus Club location between July 2 and 10 are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact health authorities if necessary.

An inmate at the Edmonton Remand Centre has tested positive for COVID-19, CBC News has learned, but the inmate was still in quarantine after recent admission when a symptom appeared  and was isolated with no evidence of transmission within the centre.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she was disappointed to hear some Siksika First Nation members are being turned away from local businesses, reminding Albertans that COVID-19 does not discriminate.

Guests who dined at the Stephen Avenue Cactus Club location between July 2 and 10 are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. (Google Maps)

COVID-19 restrictions that had kept provincial campgrounds empty or operating below capacity have now been lifted, and shared campsites are once again open to tent campers, trailer adventurers, family reunions and small special events. Reservations can be made on the Alberta Parks website or by calling 1-877-537-2757.

What you need to know today in Canada:

The federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a "safe restart" of the Canadian economy, according to senior government officials.

A Russian hacking group has gone after COVID-19-related vaccine research in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., according to Canada's cyber spies.

Canada's health charities expect to raise less than half of their normal funds this year because of COVID-19.

Out of the more than two million people who crossed the border into Canada since the start of strict quarantine laws, no one has been arrested and just a few have been fined for breaking the two-week isolation rule — figures the Public Health Agency of Canada says show the current strategy is working.

The Ontario government's announcement of its Stage 3 reopening measures has ramped up calls from Ontario parents, educators and public health experts for a plan to get kids back to school full-time come September. 

The agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August. 

As the volume of travellers entering Canada through the U.S. has increased in recent weeks, public health officials are being placed at land borders to bolster screening for COVID-19.

Some Canadian long-haul truck drivers spoke up this week to urge the government to keep the border closed until into the new year, describing "scary" and "dangerous" scenes they've seen in the U.S. amid its explosion of COVID-19 cases.

As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 109,245 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 72,800 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 8,862.

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, available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. 

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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