March 17 COVID-19 update

97 case in Alberta: one in Grouard, none in Slave Lake, province limits groups over 50

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

On March 16, the first case of COVID-19 in Alberta Health North Zone was announced. 

That day, as of 5 p.m., Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman announced this case wasn’t in Slave Lake. He had spoken to his AHS contact less than a half hour prior. 

This was part of a question and answer session that he did on Facebook Live. The video is still available for people interested. 

Mayor Warman highlighted the importance of people who have travelled self isolating for 14 days. As should anyone else who is sick, whether they’ve travelled or not. 

“If you have symptoms stay at home,” he said. If you go out, “you are putting people at risk.”

Alberta Health Services has an online assessment tool to test for COVID-19. 

The test process is very simple, he said. Stay at home. Do the Alberta Health Services online assessment or call 811. If your symptoms warrant a test, someone will come to your house. 

As of Monday, there had been people tested in Slave Lake, but none had come back positive.

On March 17, Chris Clegg for the Lakeside Leader confirmed the case was in Grouard. See “1st COVID-19 Case in HP Confirmed by Family.” 

On March 17 at 1:40 p.m. the government of Alberta declared a state of emergency under the Public Health Act

At 3:30 on March 17, the government released  “Update 4: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta.” 

There are no new cases in the North Zone, says Update 4, but 23 new cases in the rest of the province. The total is 97, this is a growth from only one on March 5. 

Update 4: “Aggressive public health measures, including additional limits to mass gatherings, are being implemented provincewide to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans.”

These include mass gatherings including worship services must be no more than 50. Essential services like grocery stores and healthcare services are exempt. 

“All Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, libraries, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.”

Expiring driver’s licences, vehicle registration, and other permits are automatically extended to May 15. 

Albertans are prohibited from eating at buffet-style restaurants and restricted from attending bars and nightclubs.

There are other restrictions on sit-down dining, and licensed establishments can now sell take-out liquor without selling food. 

Not-for-profit community kitchens, soup kitchens, religious kitchens, and work camp food services are exempt, but sanitization practices are expected to be in place and support will be in place for this practice.

To provide job protection for Albertans, there have been changes to the Employment Standards Code.

The full list is available at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Quick facts about COVID-19

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
    • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

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