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Alberta shatters daily COVID-19 record with 'about 800' new cases –



Alberta shattered another COVID-19 record on Thursday, recording “about 800” new cases over the past 24 hours.

Detailed case numbers were not available due to technical problems with the province’s reporting system, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.

“While I don’t have detailed case numbers today, I can tell you that about 800 new cases have been identified in the last 24 hours,” she said. “Currently nine hospitals across the province have outbreaks, including a new outbreak declared yesterday at the Chinook Regional Hospital.

Hospitals are still safe, she said, and people who need urgent care should not hesitate to seek it.

“That said, I am very concerned about the levels of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Edmonton and Calgary,” Hinshaw said. “We must protect our health system by reducing community transmission. The fact that we are now reporting 800 new cases is extremely concerning.

The rising numbers show that measures introduced 10 days ago in Edmonton and Calgary are not working, she said. That means in seven to 10 days Alberta’s hospital numbers will rise further, she said, which means that care for Albertans with other issues besides COVID will be impacted.

Far too many people with symptoms of the illness are still going to work or attending social gatherings, said Hinshaw, who warned that new public health measure will become necessary unless the case numbers soon begin declining.

“In Edmonton, nine per cent of active cases worked while they had symptoms. A further eight per cent visited retail or service businesses, and eight per cent attended a social gathering. The data is similar for Calgary, where 11 per cent worked while symptomatic and nine per cent travelled. Further, seven per cent attended a social gathering.”

With more than 2,500 active cases in each city, she said, that means at least 500 people did not stay home while symptomatic.

“This is significant,” Hinshaw said. “I am calling on Albertans to please stop all activities if you have any symptoms. By leaving your home for any reason other than getting tested or seeking health care, you are putting others at risk and potentially spreading the virus, so that one case can lead to many.”

Cases quadrupled

Active cases of the illness in Alberta have quadrupled in the last five weeks.

That stark reality prompted the province’s chief medical officer of health to issue a dire warning earlier this week.

“When COVID-19 starts to escalate, it can do so quickly and dramatically,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday at a news conference. “Within the next few days, we will start to see if the recent public health measures, including the limits on social gatherings in Edmonton and Calgary, are enough to reduce the rate of transmission.

“If they are not, we must consider other options.”

Albertans will find out later today just where those case numbers are headed. Dr. Hinshaw will update the province at a news conference scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

That news conference has been temporarily postponed.

Alberta has reported a total of 2,783 new cases of COVID-19 over the past five days.

That’s an average of 556 cases each day.

Active cases in the province have been rising steadily for five weeks, and for some time now each day’s total breaks the record set the day before.

At the end of September, Alberta’s active case total stood at 1,574. Over the next five weeks that quadrupled.

  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1,574 active cases.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2,062 active cases.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2,743 active cases.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, 3,537 active cases.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28, 4,943 active cases.

The latest update, which reported numbers as of Tuesday, again set a new record with 6,230 active cases.

Here are the new cases reported over the past five days:

  • Friday, Oct. 30, 581 cases.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, 525 cases.
  • Sunday, Nov. 1, 592 cases.
  • Monday, Nov. 2, 570 cases.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3, 515 cases.

The death toll in the province has now reached 343. 

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Confusion remains in B.C. on who can gather in restaurants under COVID-19 restrictions – Global News



The B.C. Restaurant and Food Association says a new set of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the provincial government has customers struggling to understand who they are allowed to dine with.

The association’s president Ian Tostenson says restaurants are trying to tell customers to use common sense and follow advice from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, but he says that advice has been unclear.

“There is a lot of confusion as to who can dine out as a result of the last couple of weeks with Dr. Henry,” Tostenson said Monday.

“The spirit of what Dr. Henry is saying is eat with people you trust, eat with people in your bubble. But if you try to define that too much it gets too hard.”

Read more:
‘Kicked when we’re down’: New COVID-19 restrictions hit already struggling B.C. restaurants

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The provincial orders issued last week require diners to only eat with someone from their own household. If someone is single, they can eat with one or two other people who make up their pandemic bubble.

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For example, three friends who are also married cannot all eat together at a restaurant. Another common mistake is parents cannot take their adult child and spouse for a meal at a restaurant if they live in separate households.

“For these two weeks we’re saying stick with your household bubble, and for some people that may mean one or two people who they have close contact with their pandemic bubble,” Henry said Monday.

The biggest challenge to uphold the order is enforcement.

Restaurants are being told not to ask diners whether they are following the rules. Instead, Henry is asking diners to know the rules themselves.

Click to play video 'Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic'

Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic

Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic

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“It is not the restaurant’s responsibility to ask people who they live with, or where they are from,” Tostenson said.

“The more that we increase confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace the harder it is.”

There is growing concern from the province that British Columbians are trying to exploit loopholes in the order. The priority for the government is to crack down of social gatherings if that is in someone’s home or in a restaurant.

Read more:
Your questions about B.C.’s new COVID-19 measures answered

One thing enforcement can do is crack down on organized events in a restaurant like live music.

“There is a tendency to … see these like a speed limit and it says 80 (km/h), and maybe I can go 86. That’s not what these are,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday.

“These are provincial health orders to help us stop the spread of a virus that is harming our loved ones in long-term care and causing great disruption in our society, and these are the things we’re doing together to stop that.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'We are on the verge of significant bankruptcies': Restaurants and pubs struggle under B.C.'s new restrictions – CTV News Vancouver



New measures introduced last Thursday by Dr. Bonnie Henry meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social interactions appear to be having the desired effect, to the detriment of businesses.

At a news conference on Nov. 19, Henry ordered B.C. residents to limit social gatherings to their immediate household, or a small pandemic bubble for those living alone.

“This applies in our homes, vacation rentals and in the community and in public venues, including those with less than 50 people in controlled settings,” Henry said.

She made no specific mention of restaurants or pubs, and Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association said there has been confusion about who can dine out.

“We haven’t seen the latest health order, it hasn’t been written from last week, so as far as we’re concerned, we’re telling people go to a restaurant but go to a restaurant in the spirit of hanging with people you trust in a small bubble,” Tostenson said.

Tostenson estimates over the last 10 days, restaurants have lost about 30-40 per cent of their pandemic sales as those who were confused by the orders chose to stay home.

Henry’s order was an expansion of a previous regional order that only applied in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. During prior news conferences, Henry made clear that while dining out was encouraged, people should only do it with their households.

On Monday, Henry clarified again that she wants British Columbians to spend the next two weeks only socializing in person with others from their household, or a bubble of one or two designated people for those who live alone. That applies to going to restaurants.

The restrictions are also hitting bars and pubs hard. Jeff Guignard with the Alliance of Beverage Licensees estimated business dropped by 50 per cent of pandemic levels.

“So you have people who are down to 25 per cent of where they were in 2019 and that’s just not sustainable. We’re on the verge of significant bankruptcies right now,” he said.

Restrictions are scheduled tin place until Dec. 7.

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Here are all the events that are affected by the new COVID-19 orders in B.C. – BC News –



Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a host of new restrictions in the wake of surging cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

B.C.’s top doctor stated that all British Columbians are ordered to stop any non-essential travel outside of their respective health regions until Dec. 7. Several other indoor activities will be put on hold, as well as all community-based gatherings. 

Today, Henry clarified what events and gatherings must be postponed under the new order during the daily COVID-19 news briefing. She underscored that all events are postponed, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. That said, these events aren’t cancelled, but “on pause.”

She added that many of the province’s beloved Christmas and holiday events will be postponed, too. 

“If we are able to get into a place of control, then some of these lower-risk events may happen again,” said Henry. “But right now, we need to stop all of those opportunities for us to congregate, to go out and do things socially.”

Movie theatres have also been suspended, as well as events at bars and restaurants. However, bars and restaurants will remain open because they offer important ways to ensure that people get meals, explained Henry. 

Art galleries are permitted to have people browsing their collections on a daily basis as long as they have strict COVID-19 safety plans in place. But exhibition openings, larger gatherings and events at galleries must also be postponed. 

What is considered an event?

In the updated public health order, “event” refers to anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis. All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order are temporarily suspended. 

The following events are not permitted under the new health order: 

  • a gathering in vacation accommodation
  • a private residence
  • banquet hall or another place
  • a party
  • worship service
  • ceremony or celebration of any type
  • reception
  • wedding (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • funeral (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • celebration of life (unless fewer than 10 people)
  • musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance
  • live band performance, disc jockey performance
  • strip dancing
  • comedic act
  • art show
  • magic show
  • puppet show
  • fashion show
  • book signing
  • reading
  • recitation
  • display
  • movie
  • film
  • meeting
  • conference
  • lecture
  • talk
  • educational presentation (except in a school or post-secondary educational institution)
  • auction
  • fundraising benefit
  • contest
  • competition
  • quiz
  • game
  • rally
  • festival
  • presentation
  • demonstration
  • athletic
  • sporting or other physical activity
  • exhibition
  • market or fair, including a trade fair, agricultural fair, seasonal fair or episodic indoor event that has as its primary purpose the sale of merchandise or services e.g. Christmas craft markets, home shows, antique fairs and the like and for certainty includes a gathering preceding or following another event.

Social gatherings and events

No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:

  • Do not invite friends or extended family to your household 
  • Do not host gathering outdoors
  • Do not gather in your backyard
  • Do not have playdates for children

All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. For example:

  • Galas
  • Musical or theatre performances
  • Seasonal activities
  • Silent auctions

The order is in effect from Nov. 19 at midnight to Dec. 7 at midnight.

Earlier today, Henry announced 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 in the province over three days, as well as 17 fatalities. 

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