UPDATE (Mar 13):

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health says sll publicly funded schools will remain open at this time, provided steps are taken to eliminate large congregations of students.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says no more than 250 people should be in the same room at any time, while also recommending sports and other extracurricular activities that involve physical contact be cancelled as an additional precaution.

Post-secondary institutions have not been advised to close at this time.

Hinshaw says “I understand and appreciate many Albertans are concerned about their children and the risk of COVID-19. Students should not be worried about attending class at this time. However, I encourage school boards to take these precautions and remind your staff and students about the personal steps they too can take to protect themselves from COVID-19.”

The government is also making changes to employment rules to help protect Albertans by implementing paid job-protected leave.

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow employees who are required to self-isolate or are caring for a loved one with COVID-19 to take 14 days of paid job-protected leave to cover the self-isolation period being recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

There will be no requirement to have a medical note for such leave or to have worked for an employer for 90 days to qualify for such leave.

The details of how these changes will be administered is expected to be provided in the coming days.

Premier Jason Kenney says “We are taking COVID-19 extremely seriously and acting quickly to improve employment rules. That is why we are offering paid sick leave to help contain the spread of the virus. No one should have to choose between work and taking care of their health. We are all in this together to ensure workplaces are safe and the spread of COVID-19 is mitigated.”

Six additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 29. All cases are travel-related.

(Mar 12) :

The government of Alberta is adopting aggressive new public health measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, all large gatherings over 250 people including sporting events, conferences, and community events, are to be cancelled and any event of 50 people or more that expects international participants, seniors or high risk populations, should also be cancelled.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says these measures are important and will not be short-lived.

She says “we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province. The virus is spreading rapidly and is now a global threat. We are implementing these new measures to slow its spread and limit the risks in the weeks ahead.”

The provincial government is also advising against travel outside the country.

Four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta bringing the total number in the province to 23.

All of the new cases are in the Calgary Zone and are travel related including a two year old child who had just returned from a family vacation in Florida.

That case also prompted the temporary closure of a Calgary daycare.