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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday, April 21

Health official says concerns over new masks for health workers are a matter of personal preference, while the province records two more deaths and 187 new cases Tuesday.

Health workers continue to raise concerns over new masks

Nurses in Alberta say they are now using Vanch masks — instead of Pri-med masks — which have caused rashes and headaches for some. They also say the masks don't form a proper seal to protect the nose and mouth from droplets. (Name withheld by request)

The latest:

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, suggested Tuesday that as there is talk of easing restrictions, people should look to regions like Italy and New York for a reminder of the destructive power the virus holds.

Health-care workers say new masks sourced by the province are giving them headaches and rashes and don't fit properly, but a health official says it's just a matter of personal preference and that anyone experiencing adverse effects can request a different mask. 

It comes shortly after Premier Jason Kenney said his government sent masks to Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia because Alberta had a surplus. 

WATCH: What happens after Canadians flatten the curve:

The curve for COVID-19 cases in Canada is starting to flatten, but before cases see a major decrease in the number of deaths that number will continue to rise. 2:02

The government says it will advance $24.5 million to operators of continuing care centres to help deal with the cost pressures of the pandemic. 

The total number of deaths now sits at 61, and total cases at 3,095.

Of those, 1,273 people have recovered.

As of Tuesday, 109,015 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19.

The regional breakdown of cases is:

  • Calgary zone: 2,204.
  • Edmonton zone: 446.
  • South zone: 200.
  • North zone: 148.
  • Central zone: 77.
  • Unknown: 20.
A total of 2,908 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta as of Monday. (CBC)

What you need to know today in Canada:

Discussions about how to ease restrictions are beginning in some areas of Canada as the pandemic begins to ease in those areas, but the process is likely to be slow and cautious, and getting it wrong could lead to a resurgence in cases, according to the WHO. 

WATCH: Finding a way to help during the pandemic:

From buying groceries for seniors to babysitting for essential workers, people are finding creative ways to help their community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.  2:33

Part of that process requires data on infections from more widespread testing, and federal officials say not enough is being done across the country. In addition, Ottawa has limited ability to ramp up that testing because it is a provincial matter. 

As the pandemic continues and travel restrictions remain, Air Canada has suspended flights to the U.S

In order to deal with some of the fallout from the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday the government would offer $350 million in emergency funds for community groups and national charities that help seniors, the homeless and others made more vulnerable by the pandemic. 

As of 8:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 36,831 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. The provinces and territories that provide public information on recoveries listed 12,599 cases as recovered or resolved.

A CBC News count of coronavirus-related deaths based on provincial data, local public health information and CBC's own reporting has recorded 1,762 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada. There have been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

Self-assessment:

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

WATCH: How to physically distance in tricky situations:

Physical distancing has radically changed how we socialize. But there are still some scenarios where it’s difficult to limit our physical contact with others. Here’s how to best navigate them. 3:24

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 10 days from the onset of symptoms. 

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

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