Alberta taps celebrities to send clear message on COVID-19

Alberta has 259 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 22, the provincial health department reported. Thirty-three cases were confirmed Sunday.

Calgary leads in the number of cases at 164, followed by Edmonton with 60. There are 18 cases in the north zone, 10 in central and seven in the south.

Among all cases, 18 people have been hospitalized and seven are in intensive care. As reported last week, one person in the Edmonton region has died from the virus.

Males aged 35 to 64 make up the largest percentage of cases in the province. Among females, those aged 25-44 have the highest number.

Last week restrictions to visitors in seniors’ facilities were announced. Essential visitors are limited to a single individual who can visit after being screened for the virus.

General information about the province’s response to the virus and guidance to access various programs can be obtained by calling 310-4455. The line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This is not the number for obtaining medical advice. Those calls should go to 811.

The government announced changes to its COVID-19 testing program on Sunday. It will prioritize groups at highest risk of local exposure and at-risk populations. Travellers who returned to Alberta after March 12 and have mild symptoms will no longer be tested.

Priority for testing will be given to:

– people hospitalized for respiratory illness

– residents of continuing care homes and similar facilities

– people who returned from abroad between March 8 and 12

– health care workers with respiratory symptoms.

Over the weekend the government of Alberta released a public service video entitled, “Help Prevent the Spread.” 

Wayne Gretzky, Rona Ambrose and Paul Brandt are among celebrities from sports, politics and music who provide a simple message in the Alberta-based video.

They and many other people familiar to Albertans have brief cameos in the video that reminds people how to avoid catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

The video is airing on YourAlberta channels. It has the endorsement of chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who also appears.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney and Reform party founder Preston Manning are among the politicians, while Edmonton Oiler Leon Draisaitl, Calgary Flame Mark Giordano and hockey star Jarome Iginla are among the sports figures.

The video can be viewed online here.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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