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
- School principals are scrambling to make last-minute plans for individual K-12 classrooms, setting up protocols for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and cohorts with similar lunch and recess schedules.
- Alberta reported Tuesday 89 new cases and one additional death. There are 1,169 active cases in the province.
- Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and officials are scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 at 3:30 p.m.
- A new survey suggests the majority of Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school but most would want classes cancelled if there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in their community.
- 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.
- An exposure alert for parts of B.C. has been issued after an Alberta prayer and worship event lead to 17 cases of COVID-19 in the Fort St. John area.
Pharmacies offering asymptomatic testing for COVID-19
Only people with no symptoms and no known exposure are permitted to be tested at a pharmacy. People are advised to call ahead for an appointment or to determine if a pharmacy accepts walk-ins for tests. Those with symptoms are asked to book a test through Alberta Health Services. As of today, there were 166 pharmacies offering tests, 65 of them in Calgary.
Almost 40 per cent of Ontario parents will not let their children return to school in fall, poll finds
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is still on the fence about sending his children back to school, following a new poll that found that about four in ten Ontario parents do not want to send their children back to school in September, and a vast majority — 74 per cent — have lost faith in the education minister’s ability to ensure that schools are safe from the threat of COVID-19
The prime minister shared his uncertainty during a news conference on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, only weeks before classes in Ontario and much of the rest of the country are set to resume after being suspended in the spring due to the pandemic.
Wuhan celebrates with music festival after months of no local cases of COVID-19
The scene this weekend in Wuhan, the Chinese city of 11 million people which was the first to go into lockdown due to the coronavirus, was wet and wild.
According to BBC News, thousands flocked to celebrate at a music festival in the city, packing the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park shoulder to shoulder, with not a face mask in sight.
Principals, families forced to plan for school reopening on the fly
School principals are scrambling to make last-minute plans for individual K-12 classrooms, setting up protocols for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and cohorts with similar lunch and recess schedules.
But many questions remain unanswered as both the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District wait for families to choose either in person or online learning by their respective Aug. 24 and Aug. 21 deadlines.
Loblaws pharmacies to offer more COVID-19 testing as province confirms 89 new cases
As teachers and school staff are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 before the school year kicks off, Alberta Health Services is expanding its partnership with Loblaws Canada to offer more asymptomatic testing at pharmacies.
Many pharmacies at Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore and other Loblaws locations in communities across the province will allow for Alberta’s 90,000 teachers and school staff to get tested with greater efficiency.
89 new cases, one additional death
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and officials provided an update on COVID-19.
- 89 new cases on 8,027 tests
- There are 1,169 active cases in the province
- One additional death; 225 Albertans have died from the virus
- 48 in hospital, 11 in ICUs
- Friday’s case numbers included 74 erroneously reported cases; AHS is now reporting 103 new cases Friday
- 15 lab-confirmed cases in Alberta connected to It Is Time Canada prayer gathering near town of Deadwood, Alta; 17 cases in B.C. “so far,” Hinshaw said, “and it is likely we will be identifying more.”
- 200-300 people attended that three-day gathering
- Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw Canada will offer asymptomatic testing in communities across the province, which increases province’s testing capacity by 3,000 or 4,000 tests a day, Hinshaw said
- Hinshaw said that the province is working on an “outbreak guidance document” for kids in school that will be available “within the next week,” which will have “very specific guidance” for when students test positive
“We are currently sitting at an average of about two new cases per 100,000 population over the past week per day,” says Hinshaw. She says we need to strive to ensure community transmission remains low to minimize the risk for children and teachers when they return to schools.
— Stephanie Babych (@BabychStephanie) August 18, 2020
Watch the full update below.
Save the Ironwood: Musicians, patrons rally for beloved Calgary venue hit hard by pandemic
Calgary without the Ironwood Stage and Grill seems unthinkable.
Since Patrick MacIntyre took ownership in 2006, it has become both an incubator for the local music scene and a friendly oasis for Canadian and American musicians braving the country’s not-always-friendly touring circuit.
So when Scott Morin and other members of the music scene began hearing rumblings from Ironwood staff that the venue’s financial situation had become increasingly dire due to COVID-19, they began plotting a fundraiser.
‘You just feel lost’: Wiped out Stampeders season hits hard for fans, football community
Like many die-hard Canadian Football League fans, there’s been a gaping hole in Lee Cawiezel’s summer weekends this year.
The Calgary Stampeders season ticket holder was disappointed but unsurprised when word came Monday that the CFL season — already delayed and facing a shortened schedule — was officially cancelled.
For Cawiezel, who has followed the Stampeders since 1985, there’s a sense of sadness when it comes to losing the sacred summer ritual of watching football action from the seats of McMahon Stadium.
“It kind of feels like there’s something missing now,” he said.
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