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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, April 12

Albertans continue to observe physical distancing even as significant religious holidays continue virtually.

Alberta to send supplies to other provinces in need during the pandemic

Alberta will send its extra personal protective equipment to other provinces, Premier Jason Kenney said Saturday. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

The latest:

What you need to know today in Alberta

Alberta Health reported two new deaths on Sunday at the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary. A total of 20 residents have died at the home since the outbreak began last month.

Citing an excess of medical supplies in the province, Premier Jason Kenney announced Saturday that Alberta would send hundreds of thousands of N95 masks and other supplies to Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. Ontario will also get 50 ventilators from Alberta.

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.

Helping neighbours

Albertans are pitching in to help their neighbours this week in the face of the growing pandemic.

Truckers "shed a few tears" after being given free hot meals by a Redcliff rest stop as thanks for their work during the 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 Sunday, 44 people are in hospital and 14 in intensive care.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Friday 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: 1,046.
  • Edmonton zone: 395.
  • North zone: 103.
  • Central zone: 72.
  • South zone: 31.
  • Unknown: 4.

More than 74,000 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 Sunday morning, Canada had counted more than 23,500 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Parliament returns for a rare Saturday sitting to vote on a wage subsidy program.

Self-assessment

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.

You can find Alberta Health Services' latest coronavirus updates here.

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