The latest: Alberta reported 672 new cases on Wednesday. The province set an all-time high of 919 new daily cases on Saturday. Seven new deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total to 383. There are 217 people in hospital, including 46 in intensive care — another record high number. Just three weeks ago, there were 116 people in hospital and 16 in ICU. Due to the Remembrance Day holiday, full numbers were not available Wednesday. COVID-19 has forced many Remembrance Day services to minimize or move online, but there are still many ways to pay your respects today. The service at the Military Museums is closed to the public this year but a virtual event was live streamed here on CBC Calgary. An outbreak at the Calgary Drop-In Centre has resulted in 15 clients and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19. There are also two positive cases at Alpha House and five at an Alpha House transitional facility. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, says the active case numbers are concerning and additional measures are being considered. Infectious disease experts are pressing the government to impose more stringent public health measures to curb the surge. What you need to know today in Alberta
Alberta reported 672 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, after hitting a record high of 919 daily new cases on Saturday.
Both Calgary and Edmonton now have more than 3,200 active cases each. There are 82 areas around the province under enhanced restrictions, with case rates as high as 724 per 100,000 people in Smoky Lake.
There were 8,090 active cases across the province as of Wednesday — another record high — and 63 per cent have an unknown source of transmission.
The reopening of schools has been highlighted as a potential driver of recent COVID-19 surges in other parts of Canada and around the world, but Hinshaw doesn’t believe they are causing the high rate of new cases in this province.
“I do not see evidence in Alberta of schools driving that increasing community transmission,” she said. “It does seem to be the reverse, with community transmission causing increased pressure in schools.”
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says that people who egregiously flout health orders during the pandemic should face consequences. 1:21
Hospitals in Calgary are preparing for an influx of patients in the coming days and weeks. Dr. Peter Jamieson, the medical director at Foothills hospital, says the city’s ICUs are operating at over 80 per cent capacity. If necessary, COVID-19 patients could be sent to a temporary tent facility at the Peter Lougheed hospital or to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Maintaining appropriate staffing levels in Edmonton hospitals has also been a challenge as COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and some doctors warn that staff are burning out.
Premier Jason Kenney warned that AHS may need to cancel elective surgeries, as it did in the spring, to make more room for potential COVID patients, should case numbers continue to escalate.
Despite the surging number of COVID-19 cases in the province, the Alberta government has rejected implementing tighter restrictions at this time. Instead, Kenney says he is urging Albertans to forgo parties and social gatherings in their homes.
“We’ve seen other jurisdictions implement sweeping lockdowns, indiscriminately violating people’s rights and destroying livelihoods,” Kenney said at a news conference on Friday. “Nobody wants that to happen here in Alberta.”
However, Kenney said he wouldn’t rule out new measures should cases continue to skyrocket.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has created a webpage with phone and email scripts for those who have tested positive to use when notifying their own close contacts. The province has announced that it will no longer directly notify close contacts who are not health care workers, minors (whose parents will still be notified if their child is exposed at school), and those who live or work within congregate or communal facilities.
Premier Jason Kenney is calling on Albertans to not host parties or large family dinners and is expanding the 15-person limit on social gatherings to all communities on the province’s COVID-19 watch list. 2:42
All Edmonton and Calgary residents are being asked to stop holding social gatherings in their homes, and all communities on the province’s watch list are under a mandatory 15-person limit on social gatherings.
The province is also recommending voluntary measures in both cities: wearing non-medical masks in all indoor work settings, except where people are alone in an office or cubicle, or a barrier is in place, and limiting themselves to no more than three cohorts.
A snapshot of the active COVID-19 cases by health district in Calgary as of Nov. 9. (CBC)
Outbreaks at two shelters have left Calgary’s homeless terrified to come in out of the cold for fear of catching COVID-19, says a group that helps people living on the streets. Be The Change YYC provides food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, tents and tarps three nights a week in the city’s downtown.
Founder Chaz Smith said virus outbreaks at the Calgary Drop-In Centre and Alpha House have left the homeless facing a difficult choice.
“Do you freeze or do you potentially risk catching COVID?” Smith said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
Here is the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Tuesday. A detailed breakdown of active case numbers was not available on Wednesday:
Calgary zone: 3,434, up from 3,345 on Monday. Edmonton zone: 3,255, up from 3,175. North zone: 542, up from 541. South zone: 488, down from 497. Central zone: 317, down from 330. Unknown: 54, down from 77.
Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean
What you need to know today in Canada:
As of 2:50 p.m. ET on Wednesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 276,388 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 223,199 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,678.
In Manitoba, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 reached 207 on Tuesday, the first time the province has cracked the 200 mark. Of those, 30 are in intensive care.
The surge in cases has prompted provincial and health officials to move the entire province into the red — or critical — level of its pandemic response system.
Starting Thursday and lasting at least two weeks, Manitobans are banned from socializing with people outside their own household, and non-essential retail shops and restaurants must close to in-person customers.
Ontario reported 1,426 new cases of COVID-19, setting a new record high for the fourth time in five days and pushing the seven-day average of daily cases to 1,217 — the highest it has ever been.
Quebec reported 1,162 new cases and 38 additional deaths on Tuesday, as the premier ruled out the possibility of lifting red-zone restrictions early.
With two weeks remaining in the second 28-day partial lockdown, Premier François Legault said the spread of the virus is particularly concerning in the regions of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Lanaudière, Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec and the Gaspésie.
Saskatchewan on Tuesday also reported its highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
Provincial officials say 44 people are in hospital, with 11 of those in intensive care.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations in British Columbia are approaching peak levels, as the Lower Mainland attempts to slow the spread of infection with strict new guidelines.
With 142 people in hospital on Tuesday — 46 of them in intensive care — the numbers are nearing the record high of 149 COVID-19 patients who were in hospital on April 2.
Officials on Saturday announced broad new COVID-19 restrictions for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, focusing on social gatherings, travel, indoor group exercises and workplaces.
The parks manager in Kimberley, B.C. has resigned following months of bullying after recreational facilities in the city were ordered closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city.
Brett Clark worked as the city’s manager of parks and facilities for more than three years until he quit last week.
Kimberley’s chief administrative officer Scott Sommerville said harassment against Clark and other city staff has escalated since the Kimberley Aquatic Centre and Marysville Arena ice hockey rink were closed indefinitely in March due to challenges with maintaining physical distance and not enough staff for contact tracing and sanitizing.
Self-assessment and supports:
With winter cold and influenza season approaching, Alberta Health Services will prioritize Albertans for testing who have symptoms, and those groups which are at higher risk of getting or spreading the virus.
General asymptomatic testing is currently unavailable for people with no known exposure to COVID-19.
The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.
If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms have disappeared.
You can find Alberta Health Services’ latest coronavirus updates here.
The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day.
Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.
There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.