As of 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 107 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed (due to a backlog of swabs, not a sudden increase), bringing the total number of cases in the province to 1,075. There have now been 18 deaths in Alberta. 196 people have recovered. It is believed 137 cases may be due to community transmission.
– April 3, Dr. Hinshaw said to please not make vacation lans to travel to other provinces and smaller communities. She says we should, “expect to respond to this infection for many months.”
– The Alberta government announced expanded child care for essential workers on April 1.
– The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ponoka was on March 27. As of noon on April 3, there is still just the one case.
– On March 31, three new bills were announced. The bills are regarding public health enforcement, rental protection and supporting economic activity.
– All dine-in services are prohibited
– As of March 27, all gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited, including weddings or religious celebrations. Premier Kenney also announced the immediate closure of all non-essential service businesses and announced rent support.
– Effective March 27, the Provincial Court of Alberta will close all of its case management offices.
– March 25, peace and police officers will are now able to issue fines of up to $1,000 to those violating public health orders.
– March 17, Alberta declared a public health emergency. Aggressive public health measures, including additional limits to mass gatherings, are being implemented province-wide.
– March 15, the government of Alberta cancelled all elementary and high school classes and closed all licensed day cares across the province.
- Student attendance at K to 12 schools is prohibited and in-person post-secondary classes are cancelled.
- All licensed child care facilities, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs are closed indefinitely.
If you have flu-like symptoms
The Battle River Medical Clinic is advising that as per Alberta’s chief medial officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s address on March 12, “any Albertan who is ill with influenza-like symptoms such as fever or cough stay at home for 14 days after their illness started,” and they should not come to the BRMC or to the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.
As of March 17, the Battle River Medical Clinic is advising that anyone with any symptom of fever, cough, muscle ache or sore throat is being told to stay home. The clinic is now offering telephone appointments. Patients simply have to call and book a regular appointment, or indicate they would like it to be via telephone. They have also started a Facebook page where they will post updates.
If you recently returned from travel outside Canada or have symptoms – cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:
- stay home – do not go to an ER or clinic
- take the COVID-19 self-assessment test
- call Health Link 811 for testing and instructions
How serious is it?
The current risk level in Alberta is considered to be low.
According to alberta.ca, risk is determined by assessing how likely Albertans are to be exposed to the virus in the province. While the worldwide risk is rising, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta is still low. The risk level will be adjusted if this changes in the coming weeks.
In this article, Ponoka News will keep an updated list on the current local impact, such as cancelled community events and precautions being taken, as well as the latest information from the province. Check back often for updates.
Local closures/precautions being taken:
Ponoka town and county
– As of March 17, the Ponoka Civic Building is now closed to public access until further notice. The March 17 Committee of the Whole meeting and the March 24 Town Council meeting were also cancelled.
– March 17, Central Veterinary Clinic in Ponoka is asking clients who come in to the clinic to limit it to one person or family member per appointment, as a measure to protect staff.
– On March 17, the Calnash Ag Event Centre annouced it will be closed to the public effective Thursday, March 19.
– Leisure Lanes Bowling Centre is closing its doors as of March 17 until it is deemed safe to reopen.
– Ponoka CIBC have shortened their hours to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
– Ponoka Capitol Theatre is closing temporarily, effective March 17.
– As of March 17, Ponoka United Church Thrift Shop will be closed until further notice. Donations to the thrift shop can still be made using the metal container at the southeast entrance of the church.
– Ponoka Dental Centre advised March 17 that it is now closed for all regular appointments and will be taking emergency appointments only. All dental offices are to close for non-emergency appointments following a statement from the Alberta Dental Association.
– March 17, the Ponoka Legion Branch. No 66 is closed to the public.
– The Ponoka County landfill site in Bluffton was closed to the public as of March 17. All Transfer Stations remain open at this time. Rimbey and Bluffton area residents, please take your items to the Rimbey Transfer Station.
– The Ponoka Fish and Game Association posted on its Facebook page March 16 that Organized Trap is suspended until April 7. It is also postponing its annual Birdhouse Building for the time being.
– The Ponoka Mat Program is closing down, effective March 16
– Ponoka FCSS Meals on Wheels will continue its meal program, it announced March 16.
– March 16, Rowland Parker and Associate has started a Facebook page and will no longer be taking in-person client meetings. Please call the office at 403-783-3315.
– NOTE: This is the Gallery, not the Brewery. Siding 14 Gallery closed its doors until further notice, as of March 16.
– Ponoka County posted on in its website on March 16 that it is monitoring the pandemic regularly and will take steps as necessary, and as guided by AHS. There will be a conference at 11 a.m. where new information will be discussed.
– March 15, The Ponoka Youth Centre and Boys and Girls Clubs of Wolf Creek are shut down immediately. All programs are cancelled until further notice.
– March 15, Got 2 Dance Productions announced it is closing its studio from March 16 to 30, one week earlier than the studio was scheduled to close for spring break.
– March 15, the Ponoka Gymnastics Club announced it will close from March 16 until further notice.
– March 15, the Ponoka Jubilee Library announced it is closed to the public. All programs and services are cancelled indefinitely. Staff will continue to answer phone calls (403-783-3843) and inquiries through our contact form: https://ponokalibrary.prl.ab.ca/about-us/contact-us.
– Ponoka Child Care Centre advised parents Sunday, March 15, that it is closed until further notice, following the announcement from the province that afternoon.
– March 15, Ponoka Capitol Theatre stated it is taking precautions, sanitizing all areas and are limiting the number of patrons per movie to 50.
– Home Church Ponoka announced via social media on March 13 that it would hold online church only this weekend
– All schools and facilities in Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) will remain open for regular instruction and operation until further notice.
– The Boys and Girls Clubs of Wolf Creek sent out an email March 13 advising that Spring Break programming has been modified in response to COVID-19. All out-of-town trips have been cancelled and programming will be held at club locations. The cancellation fee is being waived. A final decision will be made no later than March 18 regarding the full cancellation of the entire spring break programs.
– As of March 12, Wolf Creek Public Schools has added a new webpage with information and procedures regarding COVID-19 for families and staff. The webpage will be updated as information is updated, and can be accessed at: www.wolfcreek.ab.ca/covid-19-faqs-for-families-and-staff.
– March 12, the Ponoka Jubilee Library advised it will provide patrons with mail service of library items for those affected by COVID-19. Call 403-783-3843 to have “mail-to” privileges enabled. You can then request items to be mailed to your address through our online catalogue (ponokalibrary.prl.ab.ca).
– The Ponoka Youth Centre issued a statement on March 12 addressed to parents and volunteers, regarding cleaning precautions, and policies and procedures for children attending the program who exhibit symptoms.
– Battle River Medical Clinic issued a press release on March 11.
– Central Veterinary Clinic in Ponoka posted on March 11 to advise that it cannot sell items such as surgical masks, gloves, alcohol and hand sanitizer.
– As of March 13, everyone entering the Maskwacis Health Centre is being triaged . At this time there continues to be no no cases of COVID-19 in Maskwacis.
– March 12.The Maskwacis Ambulance Authority has acquired advanced cleaning materials and supplies to ensure our ambulances are safe. The ambulances are being cleaned with a Health Canada approved sporicidal (anti-virus) solution that has been used in many Canadian hospitals.
– March 12, Maskwacis Health Centre dental office refuted a rumour that a local dentist had tested positive for COVID-19
– Samson Cree Nation posted on its Facebook page on March 12 that an information meeting regarding the virus will be held on Monday, March 16 at the Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre (HBMC) at 10 a.m. It will also be streamed live on Facebook, and broadcasted on Hawk Radio 89.1 FM. (Now cancelled).
– The Samson Day Care and the Samson Head Start issued a statement on March 11 regarding its illness policy.
– The HBMC in Maskwacis was closed for two days, March 10 and 11, as a precautionary measure, for cleaning.
Cancelled community events
– The Ponoka Artists Show and Sale, Sept for April 4 and 5 at the Ponoka Drop In Centre, has been cancelled
– The Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 1633 Ponoka announced March 14 the cancellation of its St. Patrick’s day event with the Diamonds, set for March 21.
– The PAADA ‘Spring Into Dressage’ show scheduled for the Calnash Ag Event Centre on March 14 and 15 has been cancelled.
– High school basketball zones, playoffs and provincials have been cancelled as of March 13.
– Ponoka FCSS has cancelled the hockey game bus trip to Edmonton that was set for March 21.
– March 13, Skate Ponoka posted the following on its website: “Following the direction of the Chief Medical Officer for the province of Alberta, in regards to public gatherings our 2020 has been cancelled. Skating families, please check your e-mail as all information has been sent out to the e-mail provided at registration.”
– The Ponoka Secondary Campus Broncs World Tour, which was to leave on March 19, has been cancelled
– The Man Van set for March 14 has been cancelled
– The Ponoka doctors’ town hall on doctor compensation that had been planned has been postponed until further notice
– The community engagement planned for March 16 has been cancelled
– Samson Cree Nation Bingo is closed as per Alberta Emergency Management
– The 2020 KCWS powwow, set for March 21 at the Panee Memorial Agriplex, has been cancelled
– The Alberta Treaty Hockey Association 2020 championships have been cancelled
From the province
For returning travellers
Returned before March 12
Travellers returning from Italy, Iran, China’s Hubei province and the Grand Princess cruise ship should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
Travellers returning from other countries outside Canada should monitor for symptoms for 14 days
If symptoms develop (cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing), stay home and call Health Link 811 for testing
Returning after March 12
All travellers returning from outside Canada should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
If symptoms develop (cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing), stay home and call Health Link 811 for testing
Alberta’s chief medial officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave a press conference on March 12 at 3:30 p.m.
Effective March 12, the Alberta government is asking all large gatherings or international events in the province to be cancelled and advising Albertans against travel outside of the country.
Alberta is asking organizers to cancel any events that have more than 250 attendees. This includes large sporting events, conferences and community events. It does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres.
Any event that has more than 50 attendees and expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations should also be cancelled.
Events that do not meet these criteria can proceed, but risk mitigation must be in place, such as sanitizer stations and distancing between attendees.
Travel outside of the country is not being recommended at this time.
The World Health Organization declared a COVID-19 pandemic on March 11.
All Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/COVID19 for the latest information, guidance and resources.