What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Friday, April 10
As some Albertans mark religious holidays, politicians prepare to debate next steps forward
- Seven more Albertans die, including four at Calgary nursing home.
- Canadians mark Good Friday and Passover in new world of physical distancing.
- Parliament returns for a rare Saturday sitting to vote on a wage subsidy program.
- The world-wide death toll surpasses 100,000.
- Nurses at the McKenzie Towne continuing care centre allege a lack of cleaning and isolation has contributed to a deadly outbreak of COVID-19.
- The Town of Banff has started "checkstops" to dissuade visitors from visiting.
- All residents of the Calgary Zone with symptoms are now eligible for testing.
What you need to know today in Alberta
Alberta Health reports seven new deaths as of Friday, with four of those being at McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary. A total of 17 residents have died at the home since the outbreak began last month.
The total number of cases in the province is now 1,500, with more than 150 of those affecting staff or residents at nursing homes.
As Christians and Jews mark religious holidays of Good Friday and Passover today, they're being encouraged to obey health guidelines and observe physical distancing.
In Alberta, all places of worship have been ordered to close. Some are offering online or television services instead.
Health officials are urging people to reach out to family by phone or video chat, and to drop off treats or turkey dinners on doorsteps, while staying at least two metres from each other.
Muslims will be facing similar challenges later this month, when Ramadan begins April 23.
Emergencies Act rejected by premiers
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hopes to never have to use Canada's Emergencies Act, but has started discussions about the possibility.
Canada's 13 premiers came to a quick consensus Thursday, saying now is not the time to invoke the never-before-used legislation.
The Emergencies Act would give the federal government sweeping powers to regulate or prohibit travel, requisition and use property, order qualified people to provide essential services, regulate the distribution of goods, resources and services and establish emergency shelters and hospitals.
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Under the act, Ottawa could redirect medical supplies — masks, ventilators and COVID-19 testing devices — to pandemic hot spots in dire need.
The premiers and prime minister had a two-hour phone call Thursday that included discussing what happens to the economy once the pandemic ends. In particular, they discussed the impact on oil-dependent Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the loss of 117,000 jobs in Alberta, with young, female service workers being hit the hardest.
Albertans are pitching in to help their neighbours this week in the face of the growing pandemic.
An RV company has helped health-care workers live in their driveways, close to family but separate, so not to risk transmitting the novel coronavirus.
A Calgarian has been making care packages and dropping them off at people's doorways. The hampers are full of necessities but also include masks, flowers and hand-written notes.
Number of cases
As of Friday afternoon's Alberta Health update, there were 1,500 cases in Alberta and a total of 39 people who have died.
Friday saw an additional seven deaths — the highest daily increase so far — added to the list. That includes four newly reported deaths at McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw said nursing homes were particularly hard hit, and would now be subject to stricter guidelines. All nursing home staff now must wear masks at all times when giving patient care or working in patient-care areas within two metres of others.
The majority of cases continue to be in the Calgary zone.
The regional breakdown of cases is:
- Calgary zone: 917.
- Edmonton zone: 386.
- North zone: 97.
- Central zone: 72.
- South zone: 26.
- Unknown: 2.
More than 70,000 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19.
Alberta's chief medical officer of health is next expected to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation on Monday.
What you need to know today in Canada
More information continues to be revealed about Canada's preparation in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the worldwide death toll topped 100,000 on Friday.
A new CBC report found that a specialized military intelligence branch started issuing detailed warnings and analysis in early January about the emergence of the deadly novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
Newly released briefing notes also shed light into how quickly the COVID-19 situation evolved in Canada. In only a matter of weeks, public health officials went from calling the risk of transmission in Canada low, to closing the border and recommending wide-ranging physical-distancing measures.
As of Friday morning, Canada had counted more than 22,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.
Parliament returns for a rare Saturday sitting to vote on a wage subsidy program.
Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms.
The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada after March 12 must self-isolate for 14 days. 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 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
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All Calgary zone residents with symptoms are now eligible for COVID-19 tests. The online self-assessment tool now allows people to input their information directly to request a test.