What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, September 26

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The last:

  • No new issues will be published by the province this weekend. The Saturday and Sunday issues will be published on Monday.
  • Weeks after school starts, COVID-19 cases are on the decline among children and teens in Alberta, data shows. The number of new daily cases among 10 to 19 year olds has actually been declining, while it has remained relatively stable among 5 to 9 year olds.
  • CBC News has learned that three units at Calgary’s Foothills Hospital are under epidemic surveillance.
  • As of Saturday afternoon, four patients had died and 16 others had tested positive for COVID-19 as well as 18 health workers from Foothills Hospital in Calgary.
  • An outbreak has also been declared in a unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. According to Alberta Health Services, the outbreak involves three healthcare workers. Patients at risk on the unit have been tested and no positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified among the patients. AHS did not identify which health unit was affected.
  • No new deaths and 153 new cases were reported as of Friday, bringing the province’s total number of active cases to 1,497, up 35 from the previous day’s total of 1,462.
  • There have been 261 deaths from the disease in Alberta since the pandemic began in early March.
  • As of Friday, there were 35 schools with outbreaks, out of more than 2,400 in the province: 13 schools in the Calgary area, 14 in the Edmonton area, one in Lethbridge, one in St. Albert, one in Okotoks and five in northern Alberta.
  • Edmonton Center High became the fifth school in the province on AHS watchlist, i.e. schools with outbreaks of at least five cases, joining Austin O’Brien, Vimy schools Ridge and Highlands in Edmonton and St. Wilfrid in Calgary.

What you need to know today in Alberta:

Alberta is not part of the dreaded second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may not see a huge spike in cases now that fall has begun, says the province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

This contrasts sharply with the warning issued by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Albertans who listened to Justin Trudeau’s televised speech learned that Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are already experiencing wave two of the pandemic.

Trudeau told Canadians they could control Wave 2 if they continued to wear masks, limit social interactions and follow other public health guidelines. But Hinshaw says that despite the increase in the number of daily cases in recent weeks, Alberta is not experiencing a second wave.

Alberta students have been back in class for a few weeks now and, so far, there has been no increase in COVID-19 cases among school-aged children.

Data from Alberta Health shows that the number of new daily cases among 10- to 19-year-olds has actually trended downward, while it has remained relatively stable among 5- to 9-year-olds.

Hinshaw said the following weekly results have been seen in people aged five to 19 since resuming classes:

  • 1st week after resuming classes: 205 cases out of more than 11,000 tests.
  • 2nd week after resuming lessons: 183 cases out of more than 18,000 tests.
  • 3rd week after resumption of classes: 122 cases out of more than 14,000 tests.

CBC News has learned that three units at Calgary’s Foothills Hospital are under epidemic surveillance – in addition to two COVID-19 outbreaks that have resulted in three deaths, dozens of cases and more than 100 isolated healthcare workers .

AHS said all at-risk patients are offered testing and that contact tracing for anyone who may have come in contact with infected people is ongoing.

Outbreaks like these raise concerns about how hospitals across the province will cope if cases rise again.

There are 1,497 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. Of the 56 people hospitalized, 14 are in intensive care.

Here is the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Friday:

  • Zone d’Edmonton: 786, 13 compared to the day before.
  • Calgary area: 518, 23 compared to the day before.
  • North zone: 129, down 1 from the previous day.
  • South zone: 41, up 1 from the previous day.
  • Central areas: 16, down 3 from the day before.
  • Unknown: 7, up to 2 compared to the day before.

The University of Calgary announced Thursday that classes will continue to be offered in a mix of face-to-face and online formats for the winter semester.

Departments will structure face-to-face course components with a maximum cap of 30 students as a guideline, with a few exceptions. The winter term will see a reopening of University of Calgary campuses of 20% to 30% in-person learning, the school said.

And University of Alberta students and staff can also expect a mix of in-person and distance education during the winter semester, the school said Thursday.

Shared trails designed to help Edmontonians stay safe on city streets this summer will soon be dismantled. Transportation officials have said removing shared lanes would better support increased traffic congestion this fall and lower maintenance costs this winter. City crews will begin removing lane closures on September 29 and dismantling shared streets on October 27.

An overview of active cases by neighborhood in Calgary as of September 24. (CBC)

Find out which neighborhoods or communities have the most cases, how badly people of different ages have been affected, the ages of those hospitalized, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta – and what they mean

What you need to know today in Canada:

As of 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 151,589 confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. Provinces and territories have listed 130,315 of them as recovered or resolved. A CBC News death tally based on provincial reports, regional health news and CBC news reports stood at 9,302.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Friday the province was moving the last call to bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. and closing all strip clubs. The province reported 435 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

Sad employment figures released Thursday show how hard COVID-19 has hit the oil and gas industry in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the country recorded its biggest drop in natural resources employment in the second quarter of 2020, with nearly 43,000 workers losing their jobs. Employment in the natural resources sector fell 7.3%.

Race-based data shows that black Canadians are much more likely to get sick and be hospitalized for COVID-19 than other ethnic groups. A new study on antibodies in the blood of black Canadians aims to understand the reasons in an effort to reduce the impact of the disease on black communities.

Self-assessment and support:

Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool 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 isolate themselves. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a doctor, hospital or other health care facility.

If you have symptoms, even mild ones, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms are gone.

You can find the latest coronavirus updates from Alberta Health Services here.

The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and an addictions helpline at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day.

Online resources are available for advice on dealing with stressful situations and how to talk with children.

There is a 24-hour domestic violence information line at 310-1818 for anonymous help in over 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866- 403-8000, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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