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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Friday, July 31

Low uptake in the federal government's programs for small businesses has Alberta's chapter of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) calling for immediate changes to how that aid is handed out.

The province reported one more COVID-19 death on Friday

The Huron Perth Health Unit is investigating 29 active cases of COVID-19, the highest number in the region since the start of the pandemic. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

The latest:

  • The province reported one more COVID-19 death on Friday and 127 new cases of the illness.
  • 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:

Low uptake in the federal government's programs for small businesses has Alberta's chapter of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) calling for immediate changes to how that aid is handed out. 

With courts facing massive backlogs, Legal Aid Alberta is making it easier for those facing criminal charges to avoid appearing in person. 

Alberta's education minister says the Official Opposition's alternative school relaunch plan is trying to "discredit" the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and the "excellent medical advice" she is giving the government.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is calling on the province to work with local agencies to ensure homeless Edmontonians have access to critical services as an emergency shelter shuts its doors this week.

In dealing with a new illness such as the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and care centres can present a recipe for disaster, according to one University of Alberta expert.

Face masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Edmonton starting Saturday, after city council passed a temporary bylaw. The bylaw requires people to wear face coverings at all times while in indoor or enclosed public places or public vehicles.

Masks will be mandatory in the town of Banff's indoor public spaces, as well as outside along Banff Avenue — the town's main street — starting Friday. Town council voted unanimously to pass the bylaw on Monday.

The Town of Okotoks is looking at requiring masks be worn inside municipal facilities and transit. The final vote on the issue is expected Aug. 17.

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:

Air Canada is reporting a $1.75 billion loss in its latest quarter as revenues plummeted 89 per cent as a result of the grounding of most flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Air Transat plans to cancel all flights from Western Canada to sun destinations and the United States this winter, with refunds en route to customers — a policy about-face in the COVID-19 era.

The Canada Border Services Agency is tightening up the rules for Americans and other foreign nationals travelling through Western Canada on the way to Alaska, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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 2:45 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 116,122 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,042 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting indicates that 8,964 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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