Six new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in Alberta within the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 29.
So far, all of the cases are tied to travel, Premier Jason Kenney told reporters Friday. He spoke alongside Health Minister Tyler Shandro, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw.
They announced several measures to protect public health in the province, such as increasing sick leave days for employed workers from five to 14 days. They’re also looking to expand Employment Insurance benefits to include self-employed people.
“Nobody should choose between work and doing what is necessary to protect public health,” Kenney said.
The province is also asking Ottawa for assistance to purchase more protective equipment for Alberta’s health care workers.
“We are in a very serious pandemic,” Shandro said.
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Alberta is re-activating a billing code that will pay doctors $20 for doing a phone call with patients suspected of having COVID-19, Shandro said. It’s a billing code that was first created during the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic.
At this time, Alberta will not be closing public schools, Hinshaw said. That’s because closing schools is “not agreed upon as effective intervention to prevent spread.”
But schools are encouraged to cancel all school-wide events or other instances when there may be more than 250 students in a room at once.