Alberta reaches 301 COVID-19 cases, 42 new positive tests on Monday

Alberta has 301 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 42 new cases announced on Monday, said chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

It is the second-largest single-day increase in the province since Friday which saw a jump of 49 cases.

Only one new coronavirus has been identified in the North zone, which is at 19 total cases, with no new cases announced in the Lakeland region since Friday.

  • Calgary zone: 188 cases
  • Edmonton zone: 68 cases
  • North zone: 19 cases
  • Central zone: 17 cases
  • South zone: eight cases
  • Unknown: one case

Twenty-four cases may be due to community transmissions and continue to be investigated.

The green portion is the AHS North zone.

Eleven of 47 Alberta health care workers who attended an Edmonton bonspiel curling event have tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Hinshaw said, and they are self-isolating.

The most affected age group is the 35 to 44-year-old category.

The province announced on Monday they will not test travellers for COVID-19 who have mild symptoms and returned to Alberta after March 12 in order to focus on community transmission of the virus.

Testing will be prioritized for people who are hospitalized with respiratory illness, residents of continuing care and other similar facilities, and travellers who returned between March 8-12.

Health-care workers with respiratory symptoms will start being tested later this week.

Returning travellers who’ve arrived since March 12 are told to self-isolate at home and away from others.

Anyone with symptoms who doesn’t fit any of these categories should stay home and self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer, a slight change from the previous weeks.

Premier announces tax reliefs

Education property tax will stay the same as 2019, Premier Jason Kenney announced on Monday as part of new ways to lessen the economic hurt during the pandemic.

That reverses a decision that just passed in the 2020 Budget.

The government estimates that reversing the 3.4 per cent increase will save $55 million for households and $32 million for employers.

They expect that municipal property tax levels will not be increased as a result of the lower provincial education property tax levels, the province said in a press release.

The government will also defer education property tax for businesses for six months estimating that will keep $458 million in businesses’ hands at this time.

Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.

Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.

The government is encouraging commercial landlords to pass on these savings to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments.

Workers’ Compensation Board premiums can be deferred for roughly one year.

Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

For small and medium businesses, the government said they will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due.

Large employers will also receive a break by having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.

Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost the government approximately $350 million, they said on Monday.