April 6, 2020 provincial COVID-19 update (video)
Ninety-eight new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, bringing the total number of cases in Alberta to 1,348. One Albertan has died since the last report, bringing the total deaths in the province to 24.
A total of 953 cases are laboratory confirmed and 395 are probable cases (symptomatic close contacts of laboratory confirmed cases). Laboratory positivity rates remain consistent at two per cent.
Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
817 cases in the Calgary zone
351 cases in the Edmonton zone
89 cases in the North zone
66 cases in the Central zone
22 cases in the South zone
Three cases in zones yet to be confirmed
Of these cases, there are currently 40 people in hospital, 16 of whom have been admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
Of the 1,348 total cases, 204 are suspected of being community acquired.
There are now a total of 361 confirmed recovered cases.
One additional death has been reported in the Calgary zone. There have been 15 deaths in the Calgary zone, four in the Edmonton zone, four in the North zone, and one in the Central zone.
Strong outbreak measures have been put in place at continuing care facilities. To date, 112 cases have been confirmed at these facilities.
There have been 64,183 people tested for COVID-19 and a total of 65,914 tests performed by the lab. There have been 821 tests completed in the last 24 hours.
Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographic areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
All Albertans need to work together to help prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19.
Restrictions remain in place for all gatherings and close-contact businesses, dine-in restaurants and non-essential retail services. A full list of restrictions is available online.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has announced further restrictions for visitors to Alberta hospitals.
AHS has expanded its testing criteria for COVID-19 to include symptomatic individuals in the following roles or age groups:
Group home and shelter workers
First responders, including firefighters
Those involved in COVID-19 enforcement, including police, peace officers, bylaw officers, environmental health officers, and Fish and Wildlife officers
Correctional facility staff, working in either a provincial or federal facility
Starting April 7, individuals over the age of 65
Anyone among these groups is urged to use the AHS online assessment tool for health-care workers, enforcement and first responders.
Medical masks and respirators must be kept for health-care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. Those who choose to wear a non-medical face mask should:
continue to follow all other public health guidance (staying two metres away from others, wash hands regularly, stay home when sick)
wash their hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practising good hand hygiene while wearing it)
ensure it fits well (non-gaping)
not share it with others
avoid touching the mask while wearing it
change masks as soon they get damp or soiled
As Albertans look forward to the upcoming holiday weekend, they are being reminded to:
avoid gatherings outside of their immediate household
find ways to connect while being physically separated
worship in a way that does not put people at risk, including participating in virtual or live-streamed religious celebrations
More guidelines for faith-based organizations can be found online.
Emergency Isolation Support closure The Government of Alberta's Emergency Isolation Support program is now closed after successfully distributing more than $91 million to about 79,600 eligible Albertans over the last 12 days.
The temporary program provided one-time funding for working Albertans required to isolate by public health guidelines, or who had to take care of a dependent who was isolating and were not receiving compensation from any other source during their period of self-isolation. The purpose of the program was to bridge the short period until the Government of Canada announced its own support program.
Temporary employment standards changes The Government of Alberta is taking immediate action to allow employers to appropriately respond to public health measures and, at the same time, allow employees to remain attached to jobs and have the ability to access federal assistance programs.
Changes for employees Employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible.
Changes for employees and employers Increasing the maximum time for a temporary layoff from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid off employees stay attached to a job longer. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
Changes for employers
Improving scheduling flexibility by removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes, and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
Removing the requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
Streamlining the process for approvals related to modifying employment standards so employers and workers can respond quicker to changing conditions at the workplace due to the public health emergency.
Duration The temporary Employment Standard changes take effect immediately and will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.
List of essential workplaces The list of essential workplaces that can continue to operate in Alberta can be found online.
Family violence prevention An information sheet on family violence prevention and COVID-19 is available online.
Healthy at home Albertans are encouraged to stay healthy at home by maintaining their physical and mental health during COVID-19. Tips and ideas are available from a variety of online sources, including Active for Life. Post your wellness activities by using the hashtag #HealthyAtHomeAB. Bits and Pieces program More than 2,900 offers of support have poured into the government’s Bits and Pieces program from private and non-profit organizations. Offers include commercial vehicles, hotel rooms and mobile trailers, food and water services, hospital gowns, face masks, ventilators and other personal protective equipment. More information is available online.
The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately.
Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.
Provincial Press Release April 6, 2020 @ 7:03 PM