May 23, 2020 provincial COVID-19 news
Alberta’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain low with 48 people in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care. In total, 5,869 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19. One more Albertan has died.
18 new cases bring the number of total active cases to 814.
Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
Calgary zone: 641 active cases and 3,971 recovered
South zone: 93 active cases and 1,127 recovered
Edmonton zone: 55 active cases and 455 recovered
North zone: 19 active cases and 200 recovered
Central zone: three active cases and 95 recovered
Three active cases and 21 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
Additional information, including case totals, is online.
To date, 621 cases have an unknown exposure.
So far, 212,724 Albertans have been tested and labs have performed 232,774 tests, with 3,981 tests completed in the last 24 hours.
Deaths total 135: 98 in the Calgary zone; 15 in the North zone; 13 in the Edmonton zone; eight in the South zone; and one in the Central zone.
There are 74 active cases and 630 recovered cases at continuing care facilities; 101 facility residents have died.
Increased health services and testing available soon
Starting May 25, some Albertans will have access to more health services, including voluntary testing for asymptomatic staff and residents in long-term care and some designated supportive living facilities.
Non-urgent surgeries that require hospital stays will also resume.
Maternity services will resume at South Calgary Campus and High River Hospital on June 3.
More information is available online.
Calgary, Brooks begin stage one relaunch
A significant decline in the number of actives cases of COVID-19 in Calgary and Brooks means both cities can reopen more businesses starting May 25.
Details can be found online.
Supporting Alberta businesses with relaunch
Stage one of Alberta’s relaunch strategy is underway.
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.
Businesses and locations that are reopening can access a template on that web page to help plan how employees and patrons will be protected from the spread of infection.
Completion of this template is voluntary.
The next media availability with the chief medical officer of health will be held on May 25.
Situation reports continue to be distributed daily.
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 188,823 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 resources
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 that people fleeing family violence apply in-person for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) is 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 washing 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.
Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath, is eligible for testing. To access testing, complete 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.
The Alberta Connects Contact Centre (310-4455) is available to Albertans Monday to Friday, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Provincial Press Release May 23, 2020 @ 3:31 PM