33 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta brings total to 259 on Sunday

There were 33 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Alberta on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 259.

Alberta Health said 18 people are currently hospitalized because of the coronavirus, seven have been admitted to intensive care units (ICU), and one patient has died. That death was announced last week.

The number of confirmed recovered cases remains at three, the province said Sunday, adding a longer-term process for determining timely reporting of recovered cases is underway.

Here’s a breakdown of cases across the province:

  • 164 cases in the Calgary zone
  • 60 cases in the Edmonton zone
  • 18 cases in the North zone
  • 10 cases in the Central zone
  • Seven cases in the South zone

There was less of an increase on both Saturday (31) and Sunday (33) in the province compared to Friday, when there was a rise of 49.

As of March 22, the province has administered 27,454 tests to 26,999 different people, with 39 per cent of that testing happening in the Calgary region and 31 per cent in the Edmonton zone.

On Saturday, deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Marcia Johnson said there wasn’t enough data to draw a conclusion that the lower number of new cases was a direct result of social distancing.

The province did not hold a daily news conference Sunday, as it had done every day for nearly two weeks, but instead released the update in an email and online.

Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.

According to the province’s data, 59 per cent of patients on Sunday were men. The ages of patients in Alberta were all over the map, but overall the majority of patents are in their mid-30s to mid-50s.

Scam warning

The province is also warning of an increase in scam calls as worries for the virus rise, especially with the elderly.

Cyber security incidents involving malware and fraudulent activities, including identity theft, are being reported across Alberta.

Alberta Health Services said last week it will never call and ask for credit card information. Anyone who receives a call asking for financial data should hang up immediately and call the non-emergency line for their local law enforcement, the province said.

Albertans are encouraged to continue to exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information to people and organizations that request that information, unsolicited.

Rule changes to seniors’ homes

On Sunday, Alberta Health also reminded the public about new rules for visitors to long-term and seniors care facilities that were announced Friday.

Only a single “essential visitor” – designated by the resident or guardian – may visit.

Essential visitors are restricted to a single person who can be family, a friend, or a paid companion who provides care and companionship necessary for the well-being of the resident (physical and mental health) and/or a single designated visitor for a person who is dying, as long as only one visitor enters the facility at a time.

Every visitor will undergo a health screening, and that process could include a temperature check or questionnaire. Facilities must have a staff member or greeter at the door to ensure this happens, the province said.

How the private sector can help the province

The province said the Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program has been set up in response to growing offers of generosity from individuals and organizations to help.

There are two distinct ways in which support can be offered: the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) and Emergency Response Data Base.

The Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) is a tool that lets public and private sector users manage, advertise, distribute, and download public purchasing opportunities for goods, services, and construction in Alberta.

With APC, purchasers advertise opportunities for tender and vendors find opportunities to sell their products or services.

The Emergency Response Data Base allows individuals and organizations to fill out an online form detailing what services they have to offer.

Should there be an emergency requirement for a product or service, the province said the appropriate vendor will be contacted by the government.

The form can be filled out here.

Information phone line

The province said starting Monday, the Alberta Connects Contact Centre will be available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Albertans can call toll-free from anywhere in the province by calling 310-4455 for general information about the Government of Alberta and its response to COVID-19, or for help contacting individual program areas.

This line is not a supplement to Health Link 811 and cannot provide medical advice, the province said.

Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

COVID-19 across Canada

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 1,430 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Canada. There have been 20 deaths and 15 recoveries recorded. Worldwide there have been more than 300,000 cases.

It was officially announced Sunday that the House of Commons will reconvene Tuesday to vote on measures to ease the financial burden the outbreak is posing on Canadians and their businesses.

The House will reconvene for four and a half hours to approve the emergency legislation put forward by the federal government.

There will be 32 MPs in the chamber which will be proportional to the representation of each party, said Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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