Schools To Remain Open Across Province, GoA Introducing Employment Safety Measures

Schools and daycares across the province will remain open despite concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, met with reporters on Friday where she announced the decision.

Ontario and Quebec have recently announced they were spending school for two weeks.

“School closures are not universally agreed on as an effective intervention to restrict spread, in some other provinces that have chosen to close schools they have not taken the other aggressive measures that we announced [Thursday],” said Hinshaw.

These measures include the cancellation of events with over 250 people or international participants.

Schools are being reminded to avoid holding any large gatherings.

Employment Measures

The province is extending sick leave from five to 14 days.

Albertans will also no longer need a doctor’s note for the time being.

“That means every employed Albertan who is impacted by COVID-19 whether they are self-isolating on the recommendation of [Alberta Health Services] or caring for a family member is now entitled to 14 days of job protected leave without fear of losing their job,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

New employees will also be able to benefit as they’re waving the 90-day requirement.

Kenney added they are working on ensuring employers these actions won’t hurt their operations.

Health Link 811

A large call volume is causing some minor complications for Alberta’s Health Link 8-1-1 number.

The line is experiencing over 6,300 calls a day and because of the high traffic wait times are increasing.

AHS has doubled their staff and tripled the call line capacity.

“I understand and have heard from Albertans who are frustrated about the time it takes to reach a Health Link operator,” said Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Health Minister. “I urge Albertans to please continue being patient and to stay on the line. We will continue to work to manage Health Link wait times and ensure Albertans can get access to testing promptly.”

The province is currently working on a new online assessment tool which will guide people to answer questions about symptoms and help determine whether they need to get tested.

Shandro is also asking people to avoid calling 9-1-1 for any coronavirus concerns unless they’re having trouble breathing.

New Cases

There are six new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

This brings the total to 29, all of which are travel-related.

All the new cases are in the Edmonton and Calgary areas. There continues to be no cases of the virus in Wood Buffalo.

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