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Spruce Grove announces new measures to combat spread of COVID-19

On the same day provincial officials announced the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 419, the City of Spruce Grove announced new measures it is taking to try to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in its community.

“Effective immediately, all playground equipment and the Spruce Grove Skate Park is temporarily closed to the public,” the city said on its Facebook page Wednesday.

“We have been monitoring the situation and have seen excellent compliance from residents regarding these amenities, however, we feel the safety of our residents is of the utmost importance and this is a necessary step to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.”

Officials from the city located a short drive west of Edmonton also announced it is temporarily suspending fare collection on all Spruce Grove Transit routes. Officials said that measure applies to both local and commuter routes. Other cities, including Edmonton, have already taken such steps with the hope that bus drivers and riders no longer exchanging fares by hand will reduce the possibility for virus transmission.

People taking Spruce Grove Transit will also be asked to board buses using the vehicles’ rear doors.

Beginning Monday, March 30, Spruce Grove Transit Route 562 will also be permanently cancelled, the city said, however, it was not clear why.

“Route 560 will continue to operate on its usual schedule,” the city said.

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Officials also announced that any residents of Spruce Grove who are returning to the city from international destinations “with a recreational vehicle are being asked to contact enforcement services at 780-962-7586 to register their RV.”

“This will allow them to park their RV in their driveway or on the street for the required 14-day isolation period without resulting in any enforcement action being taken for the presence of an RV in a residential area,” the city said.

City officials asked that citizens comply with public health guidelines and best practices laid out by provincial officials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of Wednesday evening, the illness had claimed the lives of two people in Alberta.

“We are all in this together and thank you for your continued support and co-operation as we all do our part to keep our community healthy and well,” the city said.

For more information on Spruce Grove’s response to COVID-19, click here.

Watch below: Some Global News videos from a news conference in Edmonton on Wednesday where officials provided an update on Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced the province is ramping up enforcement when it comes to Albertans complying with public health orders by increasing fines for failing to follow rules set out during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier in the day, the provincial government announced that Albertans who have been forced to self-isolate because of the pandemic and who have no other source of income can now apply for financial support from the province.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Coronavirus: Food donations no longer accepted by Alberta health-care workers

Some Albertans have been showing their appreciation for health-care workers by dropping off donations of food. But those donations won’t be accepted anymore, Alberta Health Services said.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, AHS explained “the risk is just too great right now” and “no AHS staff member may accept or serve any external, non-AHS sourced food, to patients or staff.”

On Wednesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the province’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had increased by 61 compared to a day earlier, bringing the total to 419.

Of those, 33 are believed to be community transmissions.

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Calgary’s Philosafy Coffee offers free drinks for nurses, doctors, EMS amid COVID-19

A specialty coffee shop in downtown Calgary is giving away free drinks to express its gratitude for those on the frontline working tirelessly to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Philosafy Coffee on 17 Avenue Southwest in the Beltline made the announcement on social media on Tuesday, saying the offer is open to nurses, doctors and EMS staff who have a registered Alberta Health Services (AHS) email.

To take advantage of the offer, eligible staff will need to download the Philosafy app to their phones and then create an account using their AHS email. They will then be able to redeem a free drink by using a unique promo code labelled “Our Heroes.”

Philosafy Coffee owner Tahir Khan told Global News he was inspired to reward the ongoing efforts by AHS after hearing how taxing the last few days have been for his friends who work in the healthcare industry.

“Our healthcare workers are putting their lives at risk and working around the clock to keep us safe,” Khan said, adding the offer will continue “indefinitely.”

Philosafy Coffee previously shut its cafe doors amid the ongoing pandemic, so the offer is takeout only.

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Alberta sees 2nd death connected to COVID-19, confirms 358 total cases

On Tuesday, provincial chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Alberta’s second fatality linked to the novel coronavirus.

“This news is extremely sad for all of us,” she said.

Hinshaw said the person who died was a woman in her 80s who was living in McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary.

One staff member and two other residents of this facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Eleven other residents are showing symptoms, Hinshaw said.

The fatality appears to be a case of community transmission.

“News of this death and other potential infections in a long-term care facility will be distressing for many,” Hinshaw said. “I want to reiterate that while most people who become ill with COVID-19 will only have mild symptoms, others will become very sick.

“It’s why these aggressive measures are in place,” Hinshaw said, referring to the province’s ban on mass gatherings, closure of rec centres, limitations on restaurant capacity and physical distancing rules.

“Every single Albertan has a role to play,” she said.

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Hinshaw said Tuesday that there have now been 57 new cases confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total number of cases to 358.

 

On Monday, Hinshaw announced 42 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number to 301.

Alberta Health Services believes up to 24 of those cases may have been caused by community transmission. Eighteen people have been hospitalized, with seven in the intensive care unit. So far, Alberta has seen just one death related to the virus and three people were reported to be recovered.

Several changes to Alberta’s testing protocols were also announced Monday.

Travellers coming back into the country will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone who develops minor symptoms must begin to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of those symptoms.

Starting this week, staff, physicians and clinical contractors will be screened before starting their shifts.​ They will be met at the entrance and will have their temperature taken and will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire. If anyone is unwell, they will be sent home to self-isolate.


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Coronavirus: University of Alberta confirms first positive case

The University of Alberta has confirmed one of its students has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Saturday morning, Alberta Health Services informed U of A about the positive case and said the student took the correct measures after realizing he or she may be experiencing symptoms related to the novel coronavirus.

“They absolutely did the right thing,” said facilities and operations vice-president Andrew Sharman. “The first moment they started to feel unwell they self-isolated, called 811 and followed up with Alberta  Health Services, so that likely has prevented a wider spread of any potential cases.”

It is the first positive case of the virus connected to the U of A.

Sharman said the student was not living in a university residence. On Friday, U of A sent an email to students urging them to leave their residences by March 24.

“I think it re-enforces the decision we made — it was a tough decision yesterday (Friday) — but we knew cases would arise and therefore we’re trying to reduce the risk in our residences,” he said.

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Coronavirus: Are Edmonton businesses following requests to limit large gatherings?

As Alberta tries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a pandemic, the provincial government has implemented restrictions on large gatherings that could result in further transmission of the illness. But are the restrictions being followed by businesses in Alberta’s capital? And are they being enforced?

The answer to both of those questions, at least on the day after Alberta declared a public health emergency over the COVID-19 crisis, appears to be yes for the most part so far.

“After the provincial state of emergency announcement yesterday, teams of city bylaw and peace officers set out to assess compliance,” Mary Sturgeon, the City of Edmonton’s branch manager of reputation and brand communications and engagement, said in an email to Global News on Wednesday.

“Teams began in the main entertainment zones (Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue) and then made their way throughout the city, checking compliance along their route, focusing on areas with a high concentration of businesses.”

Sturgeon said that on Tuesday night, these checks concluded that 99 per cent of businesses had followed the request by provincial officials.

She noted that over 120 businesses were checked. On these patrols, enforcement officers reported bars and nightclubs were closed, sit-down restaurants were following the new capacity restrictions and some coffeeshops were only using their drive-thru windows.

They also found casinos had followed orders to close, and gyms and children’s play areas were also found to be closed.

“Teams did come across a couple of businesses that were unaware of the state of emergency, and these businesses instantly shut their doors to patrons after speaking with the officers,” Sturgeon said. “Follow up with each was done today.

“During these inspections and conversations with restaurants, educational materials were distributed which outlined the directions provided by the Alberta government.”

Aggressive new health measures being taken by the government to address the pandemic have ordered Albertans not to go to bars and nightclubs where minors are prohibited by law.

“Sit-down restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, food courts and other food-serving facilities, including those with minors-allowed liquor license, are limited to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people,” the government says.

A ban on mass gatherings of 50 people or more also applies to conferences, worship gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals but not grocery stores, shopping centres, health care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services.

For more information, click here.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Alberta to provide update on COVID-19 response 1 day after public health emergency declared

Alberta’s chief medical officer of heath, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is scheduled to hold a news conference at 4:30 p.m. MT in Edmonton on Wednesday to offer an update on the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news conference comes the day after Premier Jason Kenney declared a public health emergency and announced new measures that impose far stricter rules around public gatherings and what businesses and services can continue operating in an attempt to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Hinshaw has been addressing reporters daily and reiterating that public co-operation is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

She has been asking Albertans to wash their hands thoroughly and often, exercise social distancing, refrain from venturing out of the house unless absolutely necessary and to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms are evident, Albertans are told not to go to hospitals or medical centres but rather to call Health Link and consult with a medical professional that way to determine if a COVID-19 test is required.

On Tuesday, Hinshaw announced she had tested negative for COVID-19. She had earlier experienced cold symptoms and was asked by senior provincial leaders to take the test so she would not have to self-isolate herself unnecessarily.

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Hinshaw revealed Alberta now has 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the majority of cases emerging in the Calgary zone. She said that of the 97 cases, five involve hospitalizations and two people are in intensive care. She said all other cases involve people self-isolating and where full recoveries are expected.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about Alberta’s response to COVID-19.

While early on in the crisis Hinshaw noted most of Alberta’s COVID-19 cases had been travel-related, she spoke Tuesday about the spectre of more community-acquired cases being confirmed in the province.

“One of the critical things — I’d talked before about some of the community-acquired cases we’d seen, and we have seen a few more cases that we’re still investigating but that are concerning,” she told reporters when asked why she recommended that the government declare a public health emergency on Tuesday. “I anticipate having more information tomorrow (Wednesday) to share about those.

“But it does seem to me that we are seeing a few more instances where community transmission is possible. In addition, we’re seeing examples such as the dental conference that I referenced before, and we now have six cases in Alberta alone from that one dental conference.

On Tuesday, Hinshaw emphasized that Albertans need to take the coronavirus seriously so that the province can do its best to do something that has come to be known as “flattening the curve.”

“The more we can slow the spread of the virus down, the less likely it is that there will be a surge of cases that overwhelm our health system’s capacity to care for those that need hospitalization or intensive care.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

Source: Read Full Article

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74 confirmed coronavirus cases in Alberta; cases detected in all health zones

Speaking to reporters via video conferencing because she is self-isolating while experiencing cold symptoms, the province’s chief medical officer of health said Monday that for the first time, there are confirmed novel coronavirus cases now in all Alberta Health zones.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there were 18 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 74 across the province.

Hinshaw said that five COVID-19 cases in the province are people being treated in hospital. All are in stable condition. She added that all other cases are self-isolating at home and are expected to make a full recovery.

As of Monday afternoon, the Alberta government said cases of COVID-19 in the province include 52 cases in the Calgary zone, 18 cases in the Edmonton zone, two cases in the Central zone, one case in the South zone and one case in the North zone.

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