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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, July 22

The City of Calgary will make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces starting Aug. 1 in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus and prevent another lockdown, and Mayor Nenshi said Wednesday the city may discuss extending that to schools.

Calgary considers extending mask bylaw to schools, outbreak at Peter Lougheed Hospital

The Calgary Catholic School District is taking a number of measures to ensure the health and safety of its students, including dividing classes into cohorts. (Calgary Catholic School District)

The latest:

  • The City of Calgary will make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces starting Aug. 1.
  • The City of Calgary may discuss extending mask bylaw to schools. Despite the increased numbers, Alberta students are headed back to classrooms this fall — under what Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has referred to as "near-normal" daily operations with health measures.
  • Officials reported 133 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday and two new deaths.
  • The total number of active cases in the province is 1,251, an increase of more than 500 cases since July 14.
  • As of Wednesday, 102 people were being treated for the disease in Alberta hospitals, with 18 of them in ICU beds.
  • "So let me be blunt. If you think you can socialize with large groups of people in close quarters, knock it off," said Premier Jason Kenney. 
  • Two more people have died, a woman in her 80s in the Calgary zone and a woman in her 70s linked to the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton. 
  • An outbreak has been declared at the Peter Lougheed hospital, after four staff members on one unit tested positive. 
  • Alberta Health has declared 16 regions around the province as under a "watch" for COVID-19, which means a rate of more than 50 cases per 100,000 people.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

The Alberta government announced Tuesday that students will resume in-person classes in September under Scenario 1 of the three possible scenarios that were announced in June. 

The Oilers plan to open a drive-in and outdoor venue with a beer garden or tent on the grounds of the former Baccarat Casino at the corner of 104th Avenue and 101st Street in downtown Edmonton for hockey fans to enjoy the NHL finals.

More Albertans are seeing their family physicians about mental-health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, frequently through virtual visits rather than regular appointments.

With the pandemic shutting down most structured activities, kids who would normally be sent to summer camp can now be seen roaming the streets, hanging out at parks and riding bikes. Guy Faulkner, a professor at UBC's school of kinesiology, says that's a very good thing.

Despite a "concerning" increase in new COVID-19 cases, Alberta will loosen restrictions next week on visits to continuing-care and nursing homes, the province's top doctor says.

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

  • Calgary zone: 635.
  • Edmonton zone: 236.
  • South zone: 135.
  • Central zone: 153.
  • North zone: 86.
  • Unknown: 6.

Crews lay down wooden flooring at the corner of 104th Avenue and 101st Street on the site of the former Baccarat Casino in downtown Edmonton. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

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.

What you need to know today in Canada:

A  medical unit within Canadian Forces Intelligence Command briefed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about the emerging COVID-19 crisis on January 17, 2020, the government confirmed in a document presented to Parliament this week.

But the the government's incident response group — led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and composed of cabinet ministers and other senior governmental officials — didn't meet to discuss COVID-19 until 10 days later.

WE Charity founders Craig and Marc Kielburger will appear before a House of Commons committee next week to answer questions about the Liberal government's partnership with the charity in a $900-million student grant program it was tasked with administering. 

The number of shootings in Toronto is up over this time last year and advocates for communities at risk say the closure of safe spaces, programs and services due to the pandemic is partly to blame. 

Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who received doses.

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 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.

As of 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada has seen 111,830 coronavirus infections. Provinces and territories listed 97,757 of those as recovered or resolved, with a total of 5,048 still active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 8,864.

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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