Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Alberta Health Services North zone as of Wednesday, including one in Cold Lake.
That’s one additional confirmed case from yesterday.
In total, 22 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced on Wednesday totalling 119 in the province.
One confirmed case in the North zone appears to have contracted the virus in Edmonton, said Dr. Hinshaw.
Six confirmed cases are through community transmission while another six cases are in treatment with three in intensive care.
Dr. Hinshaw said that Alberta has conducted just under 15,000 tests, which is the highest per capita in North America, she said, with one test done for every 290 Albertans.
She said there is good news.
In several cases of international travelers, those people have returned, self-isolated, done the tests and have taken the proper precautions following their trips.
Multiple cases of COVID-19 have been reported from attendees at the Pacific Dental Conference held in Vancouver March 5-7.
Individuals who attended the conference should self-isolate immediately for 14 days from the conclusion of the conference.
Individuals who attended the conference and who currently have symptoms should stay home, self-isolate and call Health Link at 811 to arrange for testing and further instructions.
All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta are being postponed. Alberta Health Services will be contacting Albertans scheduled for procedures and will reschedule as soon as possible. Urgent and emergency surgery, as well as oncology and scheduled caesarean (C-section) procedures will continue.
Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
- 83 cases in the Calgary zone
- 27 cases in the Edmonton zone
- Four cases in the North zone
- Three cases in the Central zone
- Two cases in the South zone
Alberta Government’s financial measures announced Wednesday: Release
Emergency Isolation Support: $50 million
This will be a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated.
It will be distributed in one payment instalment and will bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April.
We expect the program to be accessible by a simple online application through alberta.ca next week and that funds will be deposited in the accounts of eligible recipients beginning at that time
Utility payment holiday
Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off from these services during this time of crisis.
This will cover electricity and natural gas, regardless of the service provider.
Student loans repayment holiday
The government will implement a six-month, interest-free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.
Banks and credit unions
ATB Financial customers impacted by COVID-19:
Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to six months.
Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
For other business and agriculture customers, ATB will work with customers on a one-on-one basis and further solutions are being considered at this time.
For more information on ATB’s relief program, please visit their website.
Alberta credit unions:
Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
Both individual and business members are encouraged to proactively contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
Alberta employers are facing significant challenges and uncertainty. To give them increased access to cash in order to pay employees, address debts and continue operations, the government will:
Defer the collection of corporate income tax balances and instalment payments, due after today, until Aug. 31, 2020. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
“In these exceptional circumstances, having cash on hand is vital to families and employers and it’s critical we give Albertans this certainty and support. This tax measure will provide timely relief and additional runway for businesses to continue operating and compensating their employees during this difficult time.”
The Alberta government said they are pleased the federal government has responded to concerns and has taken the recommendation to increase supports to people receiving Employment Insurance.
They say they have contributed far more to the federal government in employment insurance (EI) premiums than it receives in EI support, so it is good to see the federal government providing the support Albertans need in these difficult times.
Relief measures already in place
Albertans, seniors and vulnerable groups
Charitable and non-profit groups will immediately receive an additional $60 million to support seniors and other vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This is in addition to the $3.9 billion for community and social services allocated in Budget 2020.
Health care for Albertans
The Government of Alberta has committed $500 million extra this year to respond to the public health crisis and to support front-line health professionals working to keep Albertans safe and healthy.
This is in addition to the record-high $20.6 billion allocated for health care in Budget 2020.
A further $58 million has been allocated to Alberta health care for COVID-19 response by the federal government.
“Albertans are doing their part to keep each other safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are doing ours by assisting Albertans and their families, protecting jobs and supporting workers and employers. We will help shelter Albertans from the economic disruption of COVID-19 now, and position Alberta’s industry and businesses to bounce back when the situation stabilizes. This is an initial set of measures, and more will follow in the days to come.”