With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.
What’s happening now
- Alberta Health Services has received nearly 20,000 reports of alleged infractions of COVID-19 guidelines since the start of the pandemic
- Alberta reported Friday 144 new cases and two additional deaths. There are 1,144 active cases in the province.
- Alberta parents and teachers protested in front of the offices of United Conservative Government MLAs Friday, demanding more funding and safety measures ahead of the planned September return to schools.
- Education Minister Adriana LaGrange took to Twitter to say school boards are able to delay or stagger starts as needed and teachers already have “clear time” to prepare for re-entry with the current dates. The Calgary Catholic School Board said they will be starting on Sept. 2.
- The UCP government and Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw defended Thursday comments made in an Edmonton Journal column by a pediatric infectious diseases physician that said “it is exceedingly rare and maybe not even possible to acquire (COVID-19) simply by being in the same room as an infected person.”
- A Kentucky man could face a fine of up to $750,000 or six months in jail for allegedly violating a quarantine order in the Alberta Rockies in late June.
- CERB has been extended for another four weeks while the federal Liberals roll out a replacement, $37-billion simplified EI program.
- A report by the University of Calgary says people who genuinely can’t wear masks should be given greater consideration through an educational campaign to heighten awareness.
- One-in-five Canadians are making little to no effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, and Alberta is home to a higher percentage of the country’s “cynical spreaders,” according to a national poll.
AHS receives nearly 20,000 complaints of Albertans not following COVID-19 guidelines
Alberta Health Services has received nearly 20,000 reports of alleged infractions of COVID-19 guidelines since the start of the pandemic.
On Friday, the AHS said an online complaints portal and phone line have so far yielded 19,462 reports about Albertans not following regulations regarding self-isolation and other perceived infractions since March.
The number of complaints spiked in April with 7,145 reports — a number that tapered off to 2,376 in July and to 1,240 so far in August.
Police forced to step in as hundreds of shoppers show up for grocery store reopening
City police helped shut down a northeast grocery store after its grand opening was thronged by hundreds of eager shoppers failing to physically distance.
At around 11 a.m., officers were called to the Asian Food Centre at the Savanna Bazaar at 88th Avenue and 60th Street N.E. which had offered complimentary items for the first few hundred shoppers.
144 new cases, two deaths
— Jon Roe (@theJonRoe) August 21, 2020
Teachers already have ‘clear time’ to prepare for re-entry: LaGrange
Teachers have time to prepare for re-entry with the current return-to-school dates, Alberta’s education minister said on Friday.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange took to Twitter to respond to the Alberta Teachers’ Association request to delay the start of the school year to allow teachers extra time to prepare for students to return amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
She wrote that school boards are allowed to delay or stagger start dates if it’s “in their local best interest” and that the teachers have “clear time… to prepare for re-entry before their students arrive.”
While our re-entry plan, as written, already provides school boards with the ability to delay or stagger their start dates should they decide that it is in their local best interest, I agreed to further engage with education partners and get their views on this ATA request. (2/8)
— Adriana LaGrange (@AdrianaLaGrange) August 21, 2020
“These partners remain confident, as do I, that the school re-entry plan, as written, already provides local school authorities with the autonomy and flexibility to ensure local needs are met and to prepare schools for a safe re-entry,” LaGrange wrote.
“I encourage local education partners to continue to collaborate and work together on the decisions related to school calendars,” she continued.
I have also had the chance to review all the planned re-entry dates for schools across the Province and I do see clear time allowing teachers to prepare for re-entry before their students arrive. (5/8)
— Adriana LaGrange (@AdrianaLaGrange) August 21, 2020
and the ATA requested the start of the school year be delayed to allow additional planning to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The ATA also requested the formation of a stakeholder working group, a clearer plan for switching to different scenarios, better physical distancing through reduced class sizes, additional funding for increased cleaning of schools, better plans for ongoing screening and testing of students and staff, as well as clear availability and supports of substitute teachers.
‘Beyond disappointed’: Calgary teachers, parents protest UCP school re-entry plan
Alberta parents and teachers protested in front of the offices of United Conservative Government MLAs Friday, demanding more funding and safety measures ahead of the planned September return to schools.
In total, 27 small rallies took place across Alberta, with 14 in Calgary, including at offices of prominent UCP ministers like Health Minister Tyler Shandro in Calgary-Acadia and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange in Red Deer-North.
Here’s the chalk on the public sidewalk across the street.
There’s about a dozen people here, mostly teachers and students. The teachers I’ve talked to say the same thing: we need more funding and we need government to listen to our concerns#abed #ableg #abpoli #yyc #COVID19AB pic.twitter.com/zow2oWlLW6
— Jason Herring (@jasonfherring) August 21, 2020
Outside Shandro’s office, about 15 teachers, parents and students waved signs and wrote chalk slogans like “Classrooms before war rooms” and “The future deserves funding.” They protested across the street from the constituency office after security staff kicked them off and washed chalk off the sidewalk.
Alberta releases guidelines for how schools will respond to COVID-19 outbreaks
Outbreak protocols will kick into gear in an Alberta school if there are two or more confirmed cases linked to each other or confirmed within a 14-day period,
released by the government Thursday afternoon.
One case will trigger “alert status,” and the school will need to work with Alberta Health Services (AHS) on contact tracing and send a message to parents and guardians to let them know. If two cases are confirmed within 14 days or are “epidemiologically linked,” parents will get a letter, and a decision about whether or not to go online or close the school will be made by the government, along with public health officials.
Imperial Oil reports seven cases of COVID-19 at Strathcona County refinery
Seven workers at the Imperial Oil refinery in Strathcona County have tested positive for COVID-19, as the province reported 103 new cases and one additional death Thursday.
The company announced five active cases and two recoveries in a news release.
UCP, Hinshaw defend comments by Edmonton doctor on school re-entry
An Edmonton physician’s assertion in a recent newspaper column regarding COVID-19 transmission in school settings was “appropriate,” according to Alberta’s top doctor, who weighed in Thursday after the NDP Opposition claimed Premier Jason Kenney was “irresponsible” to amplify the article.
Kentucky man faces $750K fine for breaking quarantine rules by detouring to Banff
A Kentucky man could face a fine of up to $750,000 or six months in jail for allegedly violating a quarantine order in the Alberta Rockies in late June.
John Pennington, 40, was initially given a $1,200 ticket on June 25 after staff at a Banff hotel called the RCMP saying they believed the United States citizen was violating the Alberta Public Health Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.
103 new cases, one death
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided an update on COVID-19.
- 103 new cases on 9,281 tests in last 24 hours
- 1,084 active cases
- 43 people in hospital; 12 in ICUs
- One additional death; 228 Albertans have died from the virus
- 11,292 recovered cases
Dr. Hinshaw says an uptick in completed #COVID19 tests is likely due in part to teachers and school staff choosing to be tested in advance of classes resuming in a few weeks.#COVID19AB https://t.co/G423W9IthB
— Sammy Hudes (@SammyHudes) August 20, 2020
Watch the full update below.
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