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  • Update 163: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (Dec. 21, 4:15 p.m.)

    Early indicators suggest that Alberta is beginning to bend the curve. Continue to follow public health guidelines to reduce spread and protect our health-care system.

    Latest updates

    • Over the last 24 hours, 1,240 new cases were identified.
    • There are 795 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 151 in intensive care.
    • There are 19,165 active cases in the province.
    • To date, 71,434 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
    • There was an increase of 18,306 tests (2,656,852 total) for a total of 1,616,542 people tested.
    • The testing positivity rate is 6.8 per cent.
    • In the last 24 hours, there were nine additional COVID-related deaths reported: one on Nov. 26, two on Dec. 17, one on Dec. 18, two on Dec. 19, and three on Dec. 20.
    • The total number of COVID-19 related deaths is now 860.
    • All zones across the province have cases:
      • Calgary Zone: 6,748 active cases and 28,626 recovered
      • South Zone: 461 active cases and 4,275 recovered
      • Edmonton Zone: 9,147 active cases and 29,666 recovered
      • North Zone: 1,137 active cases and 4,838 recovered
      • Central Zone: 1,551 active cases and 3,885 recovered
      • 121 active cases and 144 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
      • Additional information, including case totals, is online.
    • R values from Dec. 14-20 (confidence interval)
      • Alberta provincewide: 0.92 (0.90-0.93)
      • Edmonton Zone: 0.89 (0.86-0.91)
      • Calgary Zone: 0.97 (0.97-1.00)
      • Rest of Alberta: 0.90 (0.85-0.95)
    • Currently, 448 schools, about 19 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 1,992 cases in total.
      • Of those, 137 schools are on alert, with 233 total cases.
      • Outbreaks are declared in 311 schools, including 129 on watch, with a total of 1,759 cases.
      • So far, in-school transmission has likely occurred in 377 schools. Of these, 192 have had only one new case result.
      • Based on data available to date, 346 schools have been removed from the alert list.
      • An online map lists schools with two or more confirmed cases, updated every school day.
    • There are 1,225 active and 4,165 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
    • To date, 560 of the 860 reported deaths (65 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.
    • Alberta is reporting case numbers and information daily, including on weekends and holidays.

    Testing for travellers from the U.K.

    • All travellers who have arrived from the United Kingdom within the past 14 days should immediately get a COVID-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not.
    • Travellers will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services to book a test.
    • Also, travellers from the United Kingdom who are participating in the border pilot must immediately quarantine, whether they’ve had a negative test or not. All returning travellers currently in quarantine must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

    Rapid testing

    • Rapid point-of-care testing has begun at long-term care and designated supportive living facilities in the Edmonton Zone using dedicated mobile testing centres. Mobile testing centres are expected to be ready to deploy in the Calgary Zone starting the week of Dec. 21.
    • Remote and rural hospitals in Alberta will receive rapid tests in late December and early January.
    • Rapid testing has already been expanded to homeless shelters and centres in Calgary and Edmonton.

    Vaccine distribution

    • Priority health-care workers in Edmonton and Calgary are now receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Alberta will receive 25,350 doses of Pfizer vaccine during the week of Dec. 21.
    • The Pfizer vaccine must be administered at its delivery site and is being offered to respiratory therapists, intensive care unit physicians and staff, and eligible long-term care and designated supportive living facility workers.
    • As more shipments arrive in the new year, immunization will focus on Phase 1 priority populations and will include residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, followed by seniors aged 75 and over, and First Nations on reserve, Inuit and on-settlement Métis individuals aged 65 and over.

    Expanding outreach supports

    • Alberta has launched a comprehensive outreach program to reach communities with high levels of COVID-19 spread in Edmonton and Calgary to provide information about how to access supports people need to keep themselves and their families safe.

    Provincewide restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19

    • In response to increasing case numbers, enhanced public measures prohibiting social gatherings, requiring masking and restricting businesses and services are in effect.
    • These mandatory restrictions apply provincewide and will be in place for at least four weeks.
    • All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place.

    Enforcement of public health measures

    • The government has granted certain Alberta peace officers and community peace officers temporary authority to enforce public health orders.
    • Not following mandatory restrictions will result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.

    Albertans downloading tracer app

    • All Albertans are encouraged to download the secure ABTraceTogether app, which is integrated with provincial contact tracing. The federal app is not a contact tracing app.
    • Secure contact tracing is an effective tool to stop the spread by notifying people who were exposed to a confirmed case so they can isolate and be tested.
    • As of Dec. 21, 287,251 Albertans were using the ABTraceTogether app, 66 per cent on iOS and 34 per cent on Android. On average, 22 new users were registering every hour.
    • Secure contact tracing is a cornerstone of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy.

    Influenza immunization

    • Everyone, especially seniors and those at risk, is encouraged to get immunized against influenza.
    • As of Dec. 12, 1,450,368 Albertans have received their flu shot. That means almost 33 per cent of Albertans are immunized against influenza so far this year.

    MyHealth Records quick access

    • Parents and guardians can access the COVID-19 test results for children under the age of 18 through MyHealth Records (MHR) as soon as they are ready.
    • More than 473,873 Albertans have MHR accounts.

    Access to justice

    Alberta’s Recovery Plan

    • Alberta’s Recovery Plan will create jobs, economic diversification and a strong economic future.

    Addiction and mental health supports

    • Confidential supports are available. The Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Resources are also available online.
    • 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 at 310-1818 provides 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.
    • People fleeing family violence can call local police or the nearest RCMP detachment to apply for an Emergency Protection Order, or follow the steps in the Emergency Protection Orders Telephone Applications (COVID-19).
    • Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are at alberta.ca/COVID19.

    Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.

    Quick facts

    • Legally, all Albertans must physically distance and isolate when sick or with symptoms.
    • Good hygiene is your best protection: wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into an elbow or sleeve, and dispose of tissues appropriately.
    • Please share acts of kindness during this difficult time at #AlbertaCares.

    Alberta Connects Contact Centre (310-4455) is open Monday to Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m