May 15, 2020 provincial COVID-19 news
Alberta’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain low with 62 people currently in hospital, nine of whom are in intensive care. In total, 5,317 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19. Four more Albertans have died.
As of today, limits on outside gatherings have increased to no more than 50 people from the previous limit of 15.
58 new cases have been reported, bringing the number of total active cases to 1,073.
Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
870 active cases and 3,505 recovered cases in the Calgary zone
106 active cases and 1,069 recovered cases in the South zone
61 active cases and 444 recovered cases in the Edmonton zone
18 active cases and 195 recovered cases in the North zone
13 active cases and 85 recovered cases in the Central zone
Five active cases and 19 recovered cases in zones yet to be confirmed
Additional information, including the total number of cases, is reported online.
There have been 630 cases to date with an unknown exposure.
There have been 189,225 people tested for COVID-19 and a total of 204,723 tests performed by the lab. In the last 24 hours, 4,505 tests have been completed.
The total deaths are 125: 89 in the Calgary zone; 15 in the North zone; 12 in the Edmonton zone; eight in the South zone; and one in the Central zone.
There are 103 active cases and 576 recovered cases at continuing care facilities; 91 residents at these facilities have died.
Provincial parks are open, but some facilities remain closed, campfires are not permitted, and camping does not open until June 1. Learn more here.
Albertans should follow public health guidelines and take extra steps to keep members of their household safe when heading to provincial parks, cottages, and onto public land this weekend. This includes:
Respecting the health and safety of small communities along the way by planning their trip without stops for gas or food, where possible.
Continuing to practise physical distancing and proper handwashing.
Respecting municipal restrictions for playgrounds. If playgrounds can be accessed, encourage children to play with children in the same household or their cohort family, sanitize hands before or after playing on a play structure, and remember to wash everyone’s hands thoroughly as soon as possible.
Downloading the ABTraceTogether app and turning it on when leaving home.
Limits extended for outside gatherings
Effective May 15, outside gatherings which are currently restricted to 15 people will be increased to a maximum of 50.
Physical distance of two metres must remain between people from different households, and attendees must follow proper hygiene practices.
Attendees should not share food or drinks.
Indoor gatherings are still limited to fewer than 15 people, except when otherwise identified in public health orders such as workplaces, places of worship, and in restaurants.
Media availabilities with the chief medical officer of health will be held on May 19 and May 21.
Situation reports will continue to be distributed daily.
Alberta Connects hours of operation
The Alberta Connects Contact Centre (310-4455) has resumed normal operating hours and is available to Albertans Monday to Friday, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The centre will not be operating over the long weekend. Service will resume on May 19.
Stage one of relaunch has begun
Stage one of Alberta’s relaunch strategy puts safety first as restrictions are gradually lifted and Albertans begin to get back to work. Calgary and Brooks will see a more gradual reopening, taking into account higher case numbers in these two cities, to balance public safety with the need to get businesses open and services restored for Albertans.
Supporting Alberta businesses through relaunch
The Alberta Biz Connect web page provides business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces and sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one of relaunch to ensure businesses can reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses and locations that are reopening can access a template on alberta.ca/BizConnect to publicly post how employees and patrons are protected from the spread of infection. The timeline to complete this template has been extended from seven to 14 days.
This template is voluntary for locations that have remained open.
Limited road tests to begin
Alberta Transportation is developing a plan to safely resume all road tests while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
As part of the Government of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of road tests are available.
Information on the limited road tests can be found on the COVID-19 Commercial Carrier Information website.
Access to justice
The Court of Queen’s Bench will extend its limitation of hearings to emergency and urgent matters only to June 26, and the adjournment of criminal jury trials and jury selections to September 8.
More information can be found online.
Albertans downloading tracer app
The ABTraceTogether app will enhance current manual contact tracing and capacity, and facilitate early detection to help reduce the spread of the virus and better protect Albertans. It means Albertans will be contacted more quickly if they are at risk.
Use of the app is voluntary; users must opt in.
The app does not track the user’s physical location and does not use GPS. Protecting privacy is paramount; all contact data is only on the user’s phone and is deleted after 21 days.
The app currently has 171,884 registered users.
Mental health supports
Confidential supports are available to help with mental health concerns. The Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Canadian Mental Health Association has a variety of resources available at mentalhealthweek.ca.
The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.
Online resources provide advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.
Family violence prevention
A 24-hour Family Violence Information Line is available at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages.
Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The requirement for in-person Emergency Protection Order (EPO) applications for those fleeing family violence has been temporarily suspended; provincial courts can now hear applications for EPOs via telecommunication.
Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are available at alberta.ca/COVID19.
The most important measure 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, and disposing of tissues appropriately.
Any individual exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath, is eligible for testing. People can access testing by completing the COVID-19 self-assessment online. A separate self-assessment tool is available for health-care and shelter workers, enforcement and first responders. After completing the form, there is no need to call 811.
Albertans are asked to share acts of kindness they have experienced in their community during this difficult time by using the hashtag #AlbertaCares.
Provincial Press Release May 15, 2020 @ 5:15 PM