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  • Update 165: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (Dec. 23, 3:45 p.m.)

    All of us must follow health guidelines to protect the health system and continue bending the curve during the holiday season.

    Latest updates

    • Over the last 24 hours, 1,301 new cases were identified.
    • There are 821 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 146 in intensive care.
    • There are 17,821 active cases in the province.
    • To date, 75,070 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19.
    • There was an increase of 19,222 tests (2,690,432 total) for a total of 1,626,216 people tested.
    • The testing positivity rate is about 6.8 per cent.
    • In the last 24 hours, there were 19 additional COVID-related deaths reported: one on Nov. 23, two on Dec. 12, one on Dec. 16, two on Dec. 17, one on Dec. 18, two on Dec. 19, seven on Dec. 21, and three on Dec. 22.
    • The total number of COVID-19 related deaths is now 890.
    • All zones across the province have cases:
      • Calgary Zone: 6,470 active cases and 29,722 recovered
      • South Zone: 390 active cases and 4,392 recovered
      • Edmonton Zone: 8,427 active cases and 31,475 recovered
      • North Zone: 1,092 active cases and 5,089 recovered
      • Central Zone: 1,391 active cases and 4,242 recovered
      • 51 active cases and 150 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed
      • Additional information, including case totals, is online.
    • Currently, 419 schools, about 18 per cent, are on alert or have outbreaks, with 1,872 cases in total.
      • Of those, 125 schools are on alert, with 219 total cases.
      • Outbreaks are declared in 294 schools, including 122 on watch, with a total of 1,653 cases.
      • So far, in-school transmission has likely occurred in 392 schools. Of these, 202 have had only one new case result.
      • Based on data available to date, 358 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 1,163 active and 4,461 recovered cases at long-term care facilities and supportive/home living sites.
    • To date, 587 of the 890 reported deaths (66 per cent) have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites.

    COVID-19 immunization program

    • A second shipment of Pfizer vaccine has arrived in Alberta and is being offered to health-care workers and long-term care workers across the province. A total of 25,350 vaccine doses have been delivered to vaccine sites around Alberta.

    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.
    • All indoor and outdoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited.
    • Individuals who live alone may join another household for one gathering only during the holiday period (Dec. 23-28). This holiday exemption is for individuals who live alone only.
    • All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place.

    Testing for travellers from the U.K.

    • All travellers who have arrived from the United Kingdom since Dec. 7 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 will be deployed in the Calgary Zone this week.
    • 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.

    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.