Classes cancelled as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

16 Mars, 2020, 15:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Alberta's chief medical health officer confirmed 10 more cases of COVID-19 in the province on Saturday, saying two of the patients were in intensive care.

Schools have not closed, however.

As the provincial government announced the first indication of community spread of COVID-19 in Alberta, they declared that all school classes will be cancelled until further notice.

Licensed child care, out-of-school care and preschool programs in the province are now closed, but the province said approved day homes would be exempt because they care for fewer than seven children at a time.

New restrictions for visitors to long-term care and continuing care facilities will also be introduced.

Every K-12 student will receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Post-secondary institutions and students are expected to continue coursework digitally. Schools had also been given strict guidelines for how to monitor children, what to look for and when to send them home.

As a result, all K-12 and post-secondary classes have been cancelled "indefinitely" and licensed daycares have been ordered to close.

"For at least some of the new cases over the weekend, public health officials have not confirmed a travel history or close contact with a traveller".

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Places of worship are also no longer exempt from the recommended restrictions on mass gatherings. She adds any mass gathering of 250 or more is expected to be cancelled.

The government signalled to Canadians overseas on Saturday that they need to come home or risk getting stuck in the dozens of countries now cancelling worldwide flights and shutting down borders in a bid to stop the rampant global march of the virus.

"This is truly an unprecedented public health emergency for Alberta, and our government is committed to bolstering the efforts of our front-line health professionals with the resources they need to continue protecting the province" he says. "Alberta's public health workers are doing an outstanding job, and we are here to support them with whatever they need".

She said anyone returning to the country from overseas needs to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

Although children have not been severely affected by COVID-19 in other parts of the world, they could play an important role in its spread.

Health Link 811 has been getting around 6,300 calls daily and Alberta Health Services (AHS) has been training staff to increase the amount of available lines.

Calgary expects to have 3,500 city employees working from home by Monday, with the number growing throughout the week. Anyone who may have been at risk of exposure has been contacted.


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