Collage of Flu COVID-19 virus cells in blood under the microscope. Coronavirus Covid-19 word background . Medical concept

Twenty-six active cases of COVID19 in city, county

Sandra M Stanway

The number of COVID19 cases are dropping across the province, however, the Alberta Health Services South Zone still has 18 per cent of all of the province’s cases while the Calgary Zone has 69 per cent.

On Thursday the province reported there have been 6,955 total confirmed cases in Alberta including 29 new reports. There are 652 active cases across the province.

Across the south zone there are 55 active cases and 1,171 people who have recovered while in Brooks there are 24 active cases and eight deaths and two active cases in the County of Newell.

An outbreak was reported at MCF Feedlots in Brooks.

Tom McMillan, communications for Alberta Health, confirmed on Thursday there were five people connected to the facility that tested positive.

“They have all now recovered,” he said.

The outbreak will be declared over by AHS approximately one month after the last case, he said.

At continuing care facilities in the province there are 65 active cases. There have been 647 recoveries; 108 facility residents have died.

The outbreak at a portion of Sunrise Gardens has been declared over with some residents now able to have outdoor visits with the proper protocols in place.

On June 1 preschools, day camps, summer schools and post secondary institutions will reopen. Each has their own set of safety standards to follow.

The region’s playgrounds are open but everyone is being urged to take precautions including washing hands often and trying to encourage children not to share toys unless they are from the same household or cohort family.

-May 29, 2020

The City of Brooks will begin to reopen on Monday

Sandra M Stanway

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the province’s chief medical health officer said the cities of Brooks and Calgary will be able to begin to re-open on Monday as part of the relaunch.
“We are proceeding with the next phases of re-opening businesses and services in the communities of Calgary and Brooks,” said Kenney on Friday morning.
The two communities are about 10 days behind the rest of the province because at one time they had more than three-quarters of confirmed COVID19 cases in Alberta and officials wanted more time to monitor trends in both communities.
As of Thursday there were 59 active cases of COVID19 in Brooks and two in the County of Newell. While in Calgary 688 cases make up 69 per cent of all cases in Alberta.
Kenney said the decision to not reopen in the two communities was because of concerns with the serious outbreaks in both communities.

In Brooks on Friday he said, over 99 per cent of the employees at the JBS Food plant have recovered and the vast majority voluntarily returned to work.
Although each business has their own rules and regulations for relaunching, barbers, hairstylists, pubs and bars will be able to reopen. As of June 1 day camps, summer and post secondary schools, worship and funeral services will be able to reopen.
“This is positive but we’re not out of the woods yet. COVID19 still poses real risks,” said Kenney.
Although allowed to reopen, many local business owners decided to remain closed until at least June 1. They will reevaluate their opening date by the end of May.

-May 22, 2020

Brooks and Calgary will hear relaunch fate tomorrow

Sandra M Stanway

Brooks and Calgary should learn about their community’s relaunch by noon on Friday.
“I commit that we will make that decision public immediately following the meeting (emergency management committee),” Premier Jason Kenney told media on Tuesday.
“This time on Friday we will be able to give a solid indication of the pace of relaunch in Calgary and Brooks,” he said.
The government was criticized a couple of weeks ago when they gave less than 24 hours notice that Brooks and Calgary would not relaunch with the rest of the province on May 14 because of the number of COVID19 cases.

At the time of the decision the two cities had about 85 per cent of the active cases across the province.

”The public health folks wanted to be very careful and proceed in stages so they could see the impact of each phase in reopening,” he said.
Kenney said the emergency management committee heard the relaunch advice from public health officials including Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical health officer late on May 12 but businesses and municipalities were not told until late Wednesday afternoon.
However, many retailers believing they would be open on May 14 had purchased perishable items for their reopening. Some businesses say they lost the products because they had to remain closed.
“I very much regret that more notice was not given,” he said.
“I subsequently met with Dr. Hinshaw and said we got to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
This week officials will look at the number of cases as a result of the relaxation of rules around COVID19 that began seven days ago.
“If they do not see a significant increase in cases that they cannot trace then I fully expect a green light from the chief medical health officer to proceed,” said Kenney.
The number of active cases continue to drop in Brooks and Calgary which together make up about 70 per cent of the province’s active COVID19 cases. 
In Brooks there are 65 active cases and 728 in Calgary as of May 20.
Locally there have been 1,018 recoveries in Brooks and 12 in the county which has two active cases.

The city’s relaunch strategy will see facilities begin to open on Monday including tennis and pickle ball courts along with the Duke of Sutherland, the quad ball diamonds and the West End playgrounds.

Other outdoor facilities, except the waterpark, will be open by May 29. Hand sanitizer will be available at all locations. Other city operated facilities such as city hall, public works and the fire hall will reopen.

JBS Canada Centre and the Centennial Regional Arena will not open.

The Brooks RCMP detachment will also open on May 25.

”The ability to keep facilities open will depend on the public’s compliance with provincial public health orders,” states a Brooks press release.

-May 21, 2020

City plans to open as COVID19 numbers decline

Sandra M Stanway

As the province watches the number of COVID19 cases now that many businesses have reopened, except in Brooks and Calgary, the City of Brooks is also keeping an eye on numbers as they plan their own reopening of some city facilities.
At Tuesday’s council meeting CAO Alan Martens said some of the city’s staff will begin to meet people but he is urging appointments be made.
Over the next few days, the city will also decide how to reopen parks and playgrounds spaces, including tennis courts. The waterpark will remain closed until they get some direction.
There were 1,663 residents who were tested at the region’s second asymptomatic COVID19 site last week but it is unknown how many of those were tested for the second time. Some of the 3,652 residents who tested negative at the first assessment returned for a second test. While about 10 per cent of the tests returned positive after the first program fewer positives were found last week.
“This last one, if you do the numbers, it’s about one per cent or less than one per cent,” said Brooks mayor Barry Morishita.
“I think that’s a tribute to everyone doing their individual work, keeping themselves safe,” he said.
He would like to see another site in the future to help keep a handle on numbers including a second wave and outbreaks at a minimum.
“Brooks is a very prime area to see that the testing continues,” he said.
There are 107 active cases in Alberta Health’s south zone including three active cases in the County of Newell and 70 in the City of Brooks.
Across the province, there are 1,000 confirmed active cases with 61 people in hospital including eight people in ICU.
Businesses which had been told to follow specific plans before reopening are now being urged to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Last week Alberta’s chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the plan was mandatory but now she is urging businesses to voluntarily complete the template that is appropriate for the business to open.
“We are working to determine the best course of action to keep case numbers low and support businesses in meeting the requirements to prevent the spread of disease while also not placing undue burden on struggling business owners. All businesses must have measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID19,” she said.
“I encourage businesses to use this tool to adapt guidance to their specific context, she said.
In Brooks, which will begin a slow relaunch on May 25, Hinshaw commended residents for doing their part to keep numbers low.
She said over the next few days the province will be able to get a better understanding of the infection rate since now that there are openings and the was a long weekend which gave people the opportunity to see others while keeping their social distance.
“I think the next few days will be critical but so far the numbers are certainly stable and encouraging.”

-May 20, 2020

77 active COVID19 cases in the region

Sandra M Stanway

The province of Alberta has 1,036 active cases of COVID19 including three in the County of Newell and 74 in the City of Brooks. The recovery numbers in the city continue to rise.
Since Saturday there has been one additional case confirmed which increased the all-time case number to 1,090. The county numbers remain unchanged at 14 cases with 11 recovered.
The province’s hospitalization rate is low at 65 with nine people in ICU.
In the Calgary zone there are 836 active cases and 3,675 recovered cases, in the south zone there are 109 active cases and 1,093 recovered cases, there are 58 active cases and 448 recovered cases in the Edmonton zone, 18 active cases and 196 recovered cases in the North zone and 10 active cases and 88 recoveries in the Central zone.
There are five additional cases with 19 recoveries in zones that have not been confirmed.
The low numbers resulted in the relaxation of restrictions throughout the long weekend which included outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people.
Over the next 10-14 days it’s expected the province will use the case numbers to see if they can move into phase two of the relaunch which would see additional businesses open.
“We’ll be able to see in one to two weeks time after the long weekend how this long weekend impacted the spread of the virus,” said Alberta’s chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Friday.

-May 19, 2020

91 active cases of COVID19 in region

Sandra M Stanway

The number of active cases of COVID19 in the city and county is 91.
On Sunday the province indicated Brooks has had 1,089 total confirmed cases and currently has 80 active cases while in the county there have been 14 cases and 11 recoveries.
There are 1,084 total active cases across the province including 111 in the south zone and 876 in the Calgary zone. Together, the two zones make up just over 91 per cent of all of the active cases.
Continuing care facilities in the province have seen 586 recoveries so there are now 97 active cases and 92 deaths.
At Sunrise Gardens there have been 10 residents who have tested positive, three have recovered and four have passed away.
Last week the medical health officer declared the COVID19 outbreak at Orchard Manor over allowing residents to engage in small group activities and meals are again being served in the dining room.
Most of the province relaunched last week except for Brooks and Calgary. In Brooks some businesses will be allowed to reopen on May 25 but many are expected to stay closed longer until possibly June 1.
Although the region does continue to have isolation rules in place, the province is permitting outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people with two metres between each person.

-May 18, 2020

Fifty people can now gather outside

Sandra M Stanway

The City of Brooks may not be allowed to fully open until May 25 but the province has increased the number of people at outside gatherings to 50 from 15.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw Alberta’s chief medical health officer, made the announcement on Friday noting there are 62 people in hospital including nine in intensive care units.
Physical distancing of two metres is to remain between people from different households and attendees must follow proper hygiene practices including not to share food or drinks and to have hand sanitizer available.
Indoor gatherings are still limited to fewer than 15 people except when otherwise identified in public health orders such as workplaces, places of worship and in restaurants.
The number of all-time cases of COVID19 in Brooks is 1,075 with 82 active cases. The County of Newell has seen 14 cases and there are now three active cases. On Thursday the provincial government confirmed the seventh death in the city. No other detail is available.

The government relaxed some restrictions on Thursday to most communities in Alberta, except for Brooks and Calgary, which have made up three-quarters of all COVID cases in the province. The two cities will see a three-staged approach to the first phase of the relaunch strategy.

Hinshaw said she’s heard concerns from Calgarians and residents of Brooks who believe the slower relaunch is unfair.
“Since last week we have been focusing our planning on a balance of protecting the health of Albertans from COVID 19 and the health of Albertans from the impacts of a prolonged shutdown. If we move too far in either direction neglecting the other, our outcomes will be worse,” she said.
“Our best path is in seeking that balance and making adjustments along the way.”

Keeping the province open and moving to the next phase of relaunch in Alberta will depend on whether or not numbers of COVID cases increase.

Opening too quickly in the city is a concern for Brooks officials and the president of the city’s downtown Brooks Revitalization Zone (BRZ) which do not want to see a relaunch of businesses too quickly and the having to close the doors again because of a spike in numbers. As a result many businesses in the BRZ have decided to remain closed until June 1 but will re-evaluate their decisions towards the end of May.

The elevated numbers of COVID cases in the two cities prompted Alberta Health Services to hold Calgary’s first and Brooks’ second
asymptomatic test centre last week.

The three day program ended in Brooks on Thursday during which time 1,663 people were tested. It’s unknown when the final percentage of positive/negative tests will be available.
In the first testing about three weeks ago, 10 per cent of the tests came back positive, while across the province the average number of tests returned positive was two per cent.
Across Alberta there have been 6,515 cases including 1,183 in the south zone. There are now 1,073 active cases with 5,317 recoveries.

-May 16, 2020

City of Brooks will not relaunch on May 14; relaunch will begin on May 25

Sandra M Stanway

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Wednesday the City of Brooks and the City of Calgary will not fully implement phase one of the relaunch on May 14 because of the number of COVID-19 cases.
Kenney said three-quarters of all of the cases in Alberta are in Brooks and Calgary although they are remaining relatively low, including under 100 active cases in Brooks.
Both cities will open in increments starting Thursday with the first stage of phase one followed by stage two of phase one on May 25 and stage three of phase one on June 1st.
On May 14 Brooks retail businesses such as clothing, furniture and bookstores and vendors at markets will be able to operate as well as daycares and out-of-school care but there will be limits on occupancy.
“Better safe than sorry,” said Kenney.
Brooks mayor Barry Morishita supports the province’s decision as Brooks has 95 per cent of all of the 100 active cases in the South Zone.
“I do not want to be rolling back measures put in place. It makes sense to go slower and continue to make gains rather than to take steps back,” he said.
With some businesses permitted to open tomorrow, the second stage of phase one of the relaunch is expected to take place on May 25 with the opening of hairstylists and barbers. Restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to open at 50 per cent capacity.

The final stage of phase one will take place on June 1 with additional flexibility for places of worship and funeral services. Day camps and summer schools with limits on occupancy and flexibility will be permitted as well as in-person and post-secondary courses will be delivered.
As of May 13 there have been 6,407 cases in Alberta and 120 deaths.
In the south zone, the all-time numbers have been 1,170 cases of which 1,068 cases have been in Brooks. As of Wednesday Brooks has 94 active cases, 967 recovered and seven deaths.
In Calgary, which is also going to see a slower opening, there are 895 active cases, 2,517 recoveries and 75 deaths.

-May 13, 2020 afternoon