COVID-19 Resources – Updated July 22, 2020

Listed below are links to available resources for Albertans during the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis, a list of symptoms, and Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy.

If you would like to see other resources please send us a comment.

Schools will re-open in the fall

Premier Jason Kenny and the Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange announced that K-12 schools will reopen under scenario 1:In-class learning with enhanced health and safety measures, in the fall.

School divisions will each have their own plans on how to implement the health guidelines and parents should consult with their local schools for their specific plans.

Frequent hand-washing, social distancing, sanitizing before entry and leaving the school, cohorting, frequent cleaning of surfaces and busses, are expected to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep staff and students safe within all schools across Alberta.

Masks can be chosen to be worn by staff and students, but not mandatory.

Parents can choose to keep their children home and implement home school or blending programs to educate their children.

Parents are encouraged to read through the RETURN TO SCHOOL Kit to prepare for school in September.

Guidelines will be in place if an outbreak occurs and decisions will be made by the government.

Gathering restrictions

Gathering restrictions have been lifted starting June 30, 2020. A gathering is any situation that brings people together in the same space at the same time for the same purpose. Check with your local municipality for additional restrictions in your area.

Unless otherwise identified in public health orders, the following gathering restrictions are in place:

  • 200 people maximum for audience-type community outdoor events, such as festivals, firework displays, rodeos and sporting events, and outdoor performances
  • 100 people maximum for other outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events, including wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances and other indoor spectator events where people remain seated
  • 50 people maximum for indoor social gatherings, including wedding and funeral receptions and birthday parties
  • No cap on the number of people (with public health measures in place):
    • worship gatherings
    • restaurant, cafes, lounges and bars
    • casinos and bingo halls
  • More flexibility for cohort groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep 2 metres apart:
    • households can increase their close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
    • performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
    • sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
    • people can be part of a sports/performing cohort and a household cohort at the same time

Cohort groups

A COVID-19 cohort – also known as bubbles, circles, or safe squads – are small groups of the same people who can interact regularly without staying 2 metres apart.

A person in a cohort should have little to no close contact with people outside of the cohort. Keeping the same people together, rather than mixing and mingling, helps reduce the chance of getting sick, and makes it easier to track exposure if someone does get sick.

Under Stage 2, cohort types and sizes include:

  • core cohorts (families and households) – up to 15 people
  • child care programs – up to 30 children and staff
  • sports teams – up to 50 players and coaching staff
  • performing groups – up to 50 cast members or performers

You should only belong to one core cohort. It is safest limit the number of other cohorts you belong to reduce the risk of getting sick or spreading COVID-19.

COVID-19 Status Map

The Alberta government introduced an interactive map to let people know what areas of the province to watch for potential outbreaks. There are three identifiers:

Open

  • low level of risk, no additional restrictions in place
  • less than 50 active cases per 100,000

Watch

  • the province is monitoring the risk and discussing with local government(s) and other community leaders the possible need for additional health measures
  • at least 10 active cases and more than 50 active cases per 100,000

Enhanced

  • risk levels require enhanced public health measures to control the spread
  • informed by local context

The idea is to use the map to see what areas of the province would be a possible outbreak source and to help Albertans minimize exposure and spread. Currently, Cardston County in Southern Alberta is on Watch. The rest of the province is on Open.

Alberta enters Stage 2 – Friday June 12, 2020

Stage 2 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy will begin June 12, 2020.

Stage 2 will allow additional businesses and services to reopen and resume operations with 2 metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place.

Business operators, sport and recreation services can determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance for workplaces is met.

What can open with restrictions

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • libraries
  • more surgeries
  • wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • personal services (esthetics, cosmetics skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, artificial tanning)
  • movie theatres and theatres
  • community halls
  • team sports
  • indoor recreation, fitness and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • bingo halls and casinos (but not table games)
  • instrumental concerts
  • provincial campgrounds at full capacity

Events and gatherings can be larger in stage 2

  • 50 people maximum: indoor social gatherings, including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties
  • 100 people maximum: outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events, including wedding and funeral ceremonies
  • No cap on the number of people (with public health measures in place):
    • worship gatherings
    • restaurant, cafes, lounges and bars
    • casinos
    • bingo halls
  • More flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep 2 metres apart:
    • a household can increase its close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
    • performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
    • sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
    • people could be part of a sports/performing and household cohort.

Still not approved in stage 2

  • social gatherings that exceed above listed maximums
  • regular in-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12. Classes will resume September 2020
  • vocal concerts (as singing carries a higher risk of transmission)
  • major festivals and concerts, large conferences, trade shows and events (as these are non-seated social events and/or vocal concerts)
  • nightclubs
  • amusement parks
  • hookah lounges (permitted for food and drink only)
  • major sporting events and tournaments
  • non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended – this won’t be lifted until stage 3 of the relaunch strategy

The success of Stage 2 will determine when Alberta progresses to Stage 3. Factors are active cases, health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates.

Wearing Masks

Albertans are encouraged to wear non-medical masks when out in public places where keeping a distance of 2 metres is difficult.

Medical masks (N95, surgical or procedure masks):

  • must be kept for health care workers and people providing direct care to COVID-19 patients

Non-medical masks (cloth or homemade):

  • should only be used in addition to other protective steps
  • are not proven to protect the person wearing it, but may help protect others
  • cover your mouth and nose to prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or surfaces
  • must be worn and taken on/off properly as the outside can become contaminated

Wearing a non-medical mask, such as a homemade cloth mask, has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, it may be helpful in protecting others around you.

  • Face coverings are another way to prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or surfaces.
  • They should only be used in addition to other prevention steps.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

  • you should follow the guidance for wearing non-medical face masks (PDF, 357 KB)
  • you must wash your hands immediately before putting it on, before taking it off, and immediately after taking it off
  • it should fit well (non-gaping)
  • do not share it with others

Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands. When wearing a mask:

  • avoid touching your face mask while using it
  • continue practicing good hand hygiene
  • change a cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled
    • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly
  • masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled
    • dispose of masks properly in a lined garbage bin
    • don’t leave discarded masks in shopping carts, on the ground, etc.

Videos: Proper use of non-medical masks and how to choose one

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, explains in these videos:

  • Choosing the right non-medical mask for wearing in public
  • How to use a non-medical mask

alberta.ca

Testing for COVID-19

Testing is now available to everyone in Alberta if they exhibit symptoms. Individuals need to go online and do a self assessment before calling Health Link 811.

Download ABTraceTogether a mobile contact tracing app that helps to let you know if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 – or if you’ve exposed others – while protecting your privacy.

Services

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, or feel that you may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, please call the Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642.

Text4Hope is a text messaging service where daily messages are sent to your cell phone to help you identify and adjust negative thoughts. Other resources are available if you or a family member are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wellness Together Canada is online Mental Health and Substance Use Support. At no extra cost to Canadians it offers :

  1. Wellness self-assessment and tracking.
  2. Self guided courses, apps, and other resources.
  3. Group coaching and community of support.
  4. Counselling by text or phone.

Children Services reminds us to stay vigilant about children in your neighbourhood. If you suspect a child may be in distress please call the Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-387-KIDS(5437) or call 911.

Alberta Cares Connector is a website that connects volunteers with charities to see where help is needed.

Nominate someone for the new Northern Lights Award which was created to recognize people who have done amazing things in their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benefits, credits and support payments with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA): COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

Support for Students and Recent Graduates Impacted by COVID-19 has been announced: Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Government of Canada’s Job Bank is posting more jobs across from across Canada including summer jobs for students.

Cohort families

Families with children who may require additional support can partner with another family to create a cohort family.

This is an agreement to maintain physical distancing from everyone else.

All family members in a cohort must:

  • be completely committed to isolating from people outside the cohort family, except when it is necessary, such as to go grocery shopping or pick up prescriptions
  • be healthy and not show any COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat)
  • not have underlying medical conditions
  • not be at high risk (for example, seniors)
  • have not travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days

Updated List of Symptoms

An updated list of symptoms was announced May 4 and is as follows:

  • Fever
  • A new cough or a chronic cough that is worsening
  • New or worsening shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose

If you are not tested for COVID-19, you MUST self-isolate for 10 days following the start of these symptoms and until you are feeling better (whichever is longer).

If you have any of the following additional symptoms, you may also be tested for COVID-19. While there is not a legal requirement to self-isolate, you should stay home and minimize contact with others until you are feeling better.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough (new cough or worsening chronic cough)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (new or worsening)
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell in general, or new fatigue or severe exhaustion
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite)
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye

Complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment for more information.

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and advise them that you may have COVID-19. Do not visit a hospital, doctor’s office, lab or healthcare facility for non-urgent medical needs without consulting Health Link 811 first.

BIZ Connect – A new Website for workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely.

Alberta BIZ Connect provides specific guidelines for businesses to follow as Alberta prepares to re-launch the economy on May 14. General guidelines and sector supports will be updated on this website and businesses and individuals can refer to the items as it applies to them. The website also encourages questions to “cut red tape” and to help others with similar thoughts.

General guidance

This guidance supports all workplaces in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

General workplace guidance for business owners re-opening or continuing operations (PDF, 108 KB)

Enhanced infection prevention and control measures (AHS)

Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) resources

COVID-19 orders and legislation

Sector guidance

This guidance supports sectors currently allowed to operate under public health orders.

Disability service providers

Farmers’ Markets (PDF, 263 KB)

Golf course operators (PDF, 37 KB)

Health non-essential services

Health sector PPE guidelines (PDF, 88 KB)

Homeless shelters (AHS)

Industrial work camps (PDF, 715 KB)

Outdoor shooting ranges (PDF, 33 KB)

Private and municipal campgrounds (PDF, 86 KB)

Planning for operations

This guidance is intended to prepare for Stage 1 relaunch when public health orders will be amended to allow operations to resume.

Day camps (PDF, 192 KB)

Daycare & out-of-school care (PDF, 188 KB)

Hair salons and barbershops (PDF, 33 KB)

Museums and art galleries (PDF, 135 KB)

Outdoor recreation (PDF, 82 KB)

Places of Worship (PDF, 267 KB)

Restaurants (PDF, 86 KB)

Retail (PDF, 80 KB)

A brief history so far…

  • DECEMBER 2019
  • On December 31, the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The virus did not match any other known virus.
  • JANUARY 2020
  • On January 7, China confirmed COVID-19.
  • On January 15, the Public Health Agency of Canada activates the Emergency Operation Centre to support Canada’s response to COVID-19.On
  • On January 22, Canada implements screening requirements related to COVID-19 for travellers returning from China to major airports in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.
  • January 25, Canada confirms its first case of COVID-19 related to travel in Wuhan, China.
  • On January 30, the World Health Organization declares the outbreak of COVID-19 a public health event of international concern.
  • FEBRUARY 2020
  • On February 9, Canada expands COVID-19 screening requirements for travellers returning from affected areas to 10 airports across 6 provinces.
  • On February 20, Canada confirms its first case related to travel outside mainland China.
  • MARCH 2020
  • On March 9, Canada confirms its first death related to COVID-19.
  • On March 11, the World Health Organization declares the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • On March 13, Canada advises Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
  • On March 16, Canada advises travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • On March 18, Canada implements a ban on foreign nationals from all countries, except the United States from entering Canada, Canada-U.S. border closes to all non-essential travel, and redirects international passenger flight arrivals to four airports in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
  • On March 18, Canada announces financial help, through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, for Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • On March 23, Canada announces new measures to support local farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On March 23, Canada announces support to quickly mobilize Canadian researchers and life sciences companies to support large-scale efforts towards countermeasures to combat COVID-19, including potential vaccines and treatments.
  • On March 27, Canada announces support for small businesses facing impacts of the pandemic, as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
  • On March 29, Canada introduces measures to support vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • On March 30, Canada states that all passengers flying in Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding.
  • On March 31, Canada announces new partnerships with Canadian industries, under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19. The Government of Canada plans to invest $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and to purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment.
  • APRIL 2020
  • On April 2, Canada surpasses 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • On April 2, Canada launches the Canada COVID-19 app on iOS and Android to provide Canadians with the latest information on COVID-19 and a way to check their symptoms.
  • On April 2, worldwide COVID-19 cases reach 1 million.
  • On April 3, Canada announces an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On April 9, Canada surpasses 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • On April 11, expansion of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, to help businesses keep Canadians in their jobs
  • On April 15, expansion of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, to help essential workers
  • On April 15, Canada surpasses 1,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19
  • On April 15, Canada launches a new portal, Wellness Together Canada, dedicated to mental wellness
  • On April 23, Canada announces more than $1 billion in support of a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19
  • On April 23, Canada surpasses 2,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19
  • On April 28, Canada surpasses 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • On April 29, Canada launches a new mobile app, ArriveCAN.

Relaunch Strategy and lifted restrictions

Alberta began Stage 1 of the Relaunch Strategy on May 14. Outdoor Gun Ranges have reopened on May 6 and Golf Course/Driving Ranges on May 1, with restrictions. Private and Municipal Campgrounds re-opened on May 14. Only certain Provincial Campgrounds will be allowed to open on June 1, but began to take online reservations on May 14. Other places of business with lifted restrictions on May 14 include:

  • Some retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores.
  • All farmers’ market vendors.
  • Some personal services like hairstyling and barber shops.
  • More scheduled surgeries and dental procedures.
  • Cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for public seating at 50% capacity, but people will not be able to go to the bar to order drinks, they will need to be served at the table.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Some additional outdoor recreation.
  • Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
  • Summer camps, with occupancy limits (this could include summer school).
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, but method (online, in-person or blend) will depend on the restrictions in place at each phase.

Certain restrictions will continue to be in place such as:

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people will not permitted.
  • Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines.
  • Public attendance at businesses, facilities and events that have close physical contact will not be permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
  • Movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.
  • Visiting patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students will remain prohibited.

Stage 2 of the Relaunch Strategy will be dependant on the success of implementing Stage 1, so the date is undetermined at this point.

STAGE 1: Starting May 14 for all areas except Calgary and Brooks (May 25).

  • Stage 1 allows some businesses and facilities to resume full operations starting May 14 with enhanced infection prevention and controls in place.
  • Lifted restrictions
    • Retail businesses like clothing, furniture and book stores.
    • All farmers’ market vendors.
    • Hairstyling and barber shops.
    • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to reopen for table service at 50% capacity.
    • Some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to resume gradually.
    • Services offered by some allied health disciplines like accupuncture and massage therapy.
    • Museums and art galleries.
    • Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
    • Day camps, including summer school, with occupancy limits.
    • Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, with flexibility for in-person delivery once the existing public health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.
    • Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow sector-specific guidance.
  • Continuing restrictions
    • Gatherings of more than 15 people will not be permitted, unless otherwise identified in public health orders or guidance.
    • Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines.
    • Public attendance at businesses, facilities and events that have close physical contact will not be permitted, including: arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts.
    • Movie theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed.
    • Visiting patients in health care facilities will remain limited.
    • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students will remain prohibited.
  • Recommendations
    • Travel outside the province is not recommended.
    • Calgary and Brooks residents are encouraged to wait for local services to reopen rather than travelling for services.
    • Remote working is advised where possible.
    • Albertans are encouraged to download the ABTraceTogether mobile contact tracing app and use it when in public.
  • Progression to Stage 2 will be determined by the success of Stage 1, considering health care system capacity, hospitalization and ICU cases, and infection rates.

Share this post

Post Comment