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Spruce Grove announces new measures to combat spread of COVID-19

On the same day provincial officials announced the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 419, the City of Spruce Grove announced new measures it is taking to try to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in its community.

“Effective immediately, all playground equipment and the Spruce Grove Skate Park is temporarily closed to the public,” the city said on its Facebook page Wednesday.

“We have been monitoring the situation and have seen excellent compliance from residents regarding these amenities, however, we feel the safety of our residents is of the utmost importance and this is a necessary step to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.”

Officials from the city located a short drive west of Edmonton also announced it is temporarily suspending fare collection on all Spruce Grove Transit routes. Officials said that measure applies to both local and commuter routes. Other cities, including Edmonton, have already taken such steps with the hope that bus drivers and riders no longer exchanging fares by hand will reduce the possibility for virus transmission.

People taking Spruce Grove Transit will also be asked to board buses using the vehicles’ rear doors.

Beginning Monday, March 30, Spruce Grove Transit Route 562 will also be permanently cancelled, the city said, however, it was not clear why.

“Route 560 will continue to operate on its usual schedule,” the city said.

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Officials also announced that any residents of Spruce Grove who are returning to the city from international destinations “with a recreational vehicle are being asked to contact enforcement services at 780-962-7586 to register their RV.”

“This will allow them to park their RV in their driveway or on the street for the required 14-day isolation period without resulting in any enforcement action being taken for the presence of an RV in a residential area,” the city said.

City officials asked that citizens comply with public health guidelines and best practices laid out by provincial officials to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of Wednesday evening, the illness had claimed the lives of two people in Alberta.

“We are all in this together and thank you for your continued support and co-operation as we all do our part to keep our community healthy and well,” the city said.

For more information on Spruce Grove’s response to COVID-19, click here.

Watch below: Some Global News videos from a news conference in Edmonton on Wednesday where officials provided an update on Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced the province is ramping up enforcement when it comes to Albertans complying with public health orders by increasing fines for failing to follow rules set out during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier in the day, the provincial government announced that Albertans who have been forced to self-isolate because of the pandemic and who have no other source of income can now apply for financial support from the province.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Coronavirus pandemic prompts Town of Banff to activate emergency plan

An international tourist hot spot in Alberta’s Rockies activated an emergency plan Friday in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, the Town of Banff activated its Municipal Emergency Plan,” Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said in a news release. “This is not a declaration of a state of emergency. This is a step to advance our ability to support Alberta Health, and for our workforce contingency planning.

“We need to make sure we can continue providing essential services through a period of time when some of our staff may have illness.”

The development came on the same day that Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province had reached 29.

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World News

Several Calgary employers working from home amid COVID-19 concerns

As provincial health officials implement aggressive measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of staff at several Calgary-based businesses are opting to work from home to help control the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, Alberta Health Services announced that Albertans should avoid travelling internationally, and those returning from international destinations should quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Sterling Rempel, a financial planner at Aligned Capital Partners Ltd., and his colleagues have been working from home for two days.

Rempel said the majority of his clients are over 50 years old, with nearly a third over the age of 65.

“We wanted to do our part to help to flatten the curve and not have the virus spread, to the extent that we can,” Rempel said.

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