What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, March 21

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Saturday, March 21

The latest:

  • Dr. Marcia Johnson, Alberta's deputy chief medical officer of health, provided an update at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. She said up to 16 of the new cases may be due to community transmission. Six people are in the ICU, and 11 in total have been hospitalized.
  • Johnson says an enforcement plan is being put in place to allow health inspectors to monitor large gatherings of people, and for police to possibly implement fines.
  • The province's next daily update will be held on Monday.
  • The Calgary Flames Foundation announced it will provide $1.15 million to local organizations for community relief. The money will be distributed next week.
  • Goodwill thrift stores and donation centres across the province have been temporarily shut down. 
  • Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is encouraging anyone who sees an individual or business that is violating orders under the local state of emergency to report it to 311. 

What you need to know today in Alberta:

The curve of new cases continues to rise in the province and it's not expected to peak until mid-April. If that's the case, measures to halt the spread will likely be in place until May.

The province is urging everyone to take the outbreak seriously and practise social distancing. Stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the midst of shutdowns and self-isolations, governments at all levels are scrambling to offer help, including a massive federal bailout, but also relaxations on city utility payments in Calgary, and Edmonton eyeing property tax deferrals.

In Calgary, bus passengers are now required to load from the back of the bus, and new signs have gone up to warn passengers to stay away from drivers. 

Calgary Transit also announced reduced CTrain hours effective March 30.

The Calgary Farmers' Market introduced a curb-side pick-up option for people who want to avoid going inside.

James Young/CBC

For students, and parents, the province has released guidelines for continued learning at home and said on Friday afternoon that diploma exams for Grade 12 students have been cancelled. 

What you need to know today in Canada:

In the midst of a massive disruption to air travel around the world, Air Canada announced it was laying off over 5,000 flight attendants. Some Canadians, still overseas, are struggling to get home with restrictions on travel and a shortage of flights.

The prime minister announced a series of new measures on Friday morning, including a plan to ramp up production of medical supplies and a plan to bar asylum seekers from crossing the Canada-U.S. border. 

Meanwhile, some Canadians are having trouble setting up deferrals on mortgage payments with Canada's big banks.

As of 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, there were more than 1,000 presumptive and confirmed cases in Canada, with 12 deaths and 14 listed as recovered.

  • British Columbia: 348 confirmed cases, including five recovered and eight deaths.
  • Ontario: 318 confirmed cases, including five recovered and two deaths.
  • Alberta: 195 confirmed cases, including three recovered and one death.
  • Quebec: 139 confirmed cases, including one recovered and one death.
  • Saskatchewan: 26 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Manitoba: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • New Brunswick: 11 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Nova Scotia: 15 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Prince Edward Island: Two cases the province lists as positive.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Four confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Northwest Territories: One confirmed case.
  • Repatriated Canadians: 12 confirmed cases.

Self-assessment:

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

Testing is focused on individuals who have developed symptoms within 14 days of returning from travel outside Canada, or who have had contact with someone diagnosed with the illness, but the province said Saturday it will shift in the coming week to also focus on community transmission. More than 23,500 people have been tested so far.

The province "strongly requests" that Albertans who have returned to Canada after March 12 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.

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