Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Wheatland County
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic. Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17.
This assessment by the WHO is not unexpected. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change the WHO's assessment of the threat posed by COVID-19 and it does not change what the WHO is doing. It also does not change what countries around the world should do. For that reason, it does not change the approach we are taking in Canada.
Canada's public health system is prepared. Since the outset, the Public Health Agency of Canada - along with public health authorities at all levels of government across the country - have been working together to ensure that our preparedness and response measures are appropriate and adaptable, based on the latest science and the evolving situation.
Aside from Canada, other countries and regions are reporting cases. Check the latest travel health notices before travelling.
“These measures are hard on all of us. We must continue to stand strong together… even if from a distance.”
-Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Chief Medical Officer of Health
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses. Common symptoms include:
Symptom of serious illness include:
- difficulty breathing
If you have symptoms:
- stay home - do not go to an ER or clinic
- take the COVID-19 self-assessment to determine next steps and find out if you require testing.
NOTE: If you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, please do not call Health Link. You will be called directly. It can take up to four days.
Identifying and isolating people infected with COVID-19 is the only way to stop the spread.
Although public health measures are in place to quickly identify potential cases, all Albertans are encouraged to take personal steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
Influenza and other common viruses remain the most likely cause of a respiratory infection.
To protect yourself and others:
- practice physical distancing
- stay home and away from others if sick or in isolation
- wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
- avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- avoid travel outside Canada
- self-isolate for 14 days if you were exposed to COVID-19
- Effective March 25, the Government of Canada has implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine, under the Quarantine Act, for travellers returning to Canada.
- ALL travellers who returned to Alberta from outside Canada in the last 14 days are required to self-isolate immediately for 14 days after the date of return and monitor for symptoms.
- disinfect surfaces and objects (keyboards, pens, staplers, remotes, door handles, phones, etc.) that are frequently touched and shared with others
- practice good health habits in general: Get plenty of sleep, at a well-balanced diet, take time to relax each day to manage your stress, and exercise.
- It's always a good idea — even when there's no pandemic — to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables with water to remove dirt, debris and pesticides, and reduce levels of food-borne germs,
- As with other microbes, use a thermometer to ensure the food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature,
- Wash hands:
- Before, during and after preparing foods,
- After handling any raw foods,
- Before eating foods,
- At the grocery store, only handle (touch) the fresh fruits and vegetables that you plan to buy (as a courtesy to other customers) and to limit any hand transfer of germs,
- If you are concerned about food packaging, you can wash your hands after handling the packaging.
There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:
- aged 65 and over
- with compromised immune systems
- with underlying medical conditions
There are also increased health risks for Canadian travellers abroad. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada advises you to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. This includes cruise ships.
It is important for all travellers to:
- self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside of Canada
- some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups such as health care workers
- monitor your health for symptoms such as for fever, cough or difficulty breathing
- wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
- Learn more about Alberta’s situation and action plan and Information for Albertans
- Our Province has rolled out programs to defer payments, freeze tax rates, and provide financial support for some businesses.
- Learn about Alberta Health Services' latest health information and advice for Alberta
- Alberta Emergency Management Agency Factsheet (PDF download)
- Business continuity planning
Layoffs and business closures have created financial hardship for many due to COVID-19. The Alberta Government announced new measures to stop evictions for tenants due to non-payment of rent before May 1, 2020. The changes encourage tenants and landlords to work together to develop payment plans while COVID-19 is being managed. Full details are available here: https://www.alberta.ca/rental-evictions.aspx
- Canada's COVID-19 Data Tracker
- The federal government is setting up wage subsidies, new credit programs, and easing tax deadlines to support the Canadian economy.
- Government of Canada COVID-19 Information for Canadians
- Respiratory viruses and the workplace: OHS information for employers, supervisors and workers
Canada Health App - Canada COVID-19 is a new app designed to help you to stay informed and determine what actions and next steps you should take. It was developed in partnership between Health Canada and Thrive Health – a Vancouver software company. You can find the app in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Visit the Province's website for data on COVID-19 cases in Alberta, including age, geographical area and AHS zone of cases.
Fire, Emergency, and Protective Services response levels are unaffected by the public closure of our facilities. Public Works’ operations such as road maintenance, snow plowing, and municipal utility servicing also remains unchanged. Waste Transfer Sites will continue to operate as regularly scheduled, however, due to the suspension of Drumheller & District Solid Waste Association’s recycling services, at this time, Transfer Stations are unable to accept cardboard and newspaper recycling and large items. Please hold onto your cardboard and newspaper recycling until these services resume.
Most Wheatland staff are continuing to work in differing capacities during this time. We ask that individuals with new business to discuss can continue call or email our staff, and visit www.wheatlandcounty.ca/contactus to schedule a meeting.
Other Services Located within the Administration Office
Wheatland Family and Community Support Services also operates within the Wheatland County Administration Office. At this time, their offices will be available by appointment only. Please call 403-934-5335 to schedule a meeting.
Information about Wheatland County programs and services is available on www.wheatlandcounty.ca. Payments for utility bills and property taxes can be made via online banking; instructions for how to set this up can be found on our online banking payments page. Additional services, such as safety code permits, dog licenses, development permits, etc. can be paid via credit card through our website.
We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
We need your help to keep our community strong. Stay home, and if a trip is necessary make sure you maintain proper physical distance. If you’re close enough to hear someone whisper, you’re too close!
Changes for Landlords and Renters in Alberta
Layoffs and business closures have created financial hardship for many due to COVID-19. The Alberta Government announced new measures to stop evictions for tenants due to non-payment of rent before May 1, 2020. The changes encourage tenants and landlords to work together to develop payment plans while COVID-19 is being managed. Full details are available here: https://www.alberta.ca/rental-evictions.aspx.
Facebook COVID-19 Strathmore Business Information Group
More than 2,000 people have joined the Facebook COVID-19 Strathmore Business Information Group. This is an active group, with promotions and updates from businesses. Thanks to the volunteers who have set up this valuable resource!
The Town of Strathmore has launched a Kids Campain to ensure that messages surrounding COVID-19 reach kids in our region. We are giving kids the opportunity to relay messages to each other regarding COVID- 19 to ensure that they do not feel alone during this stressful time.
COVID-19 Service Impacts Map
The Town of Strathmore has started an interactive map that is tracking COVID-19 service impacts in our community. Grocery stores, pharmacies, Town facilities, Medical Clinics, and Emergency Services are listed. Watch for updates as more information becomes available. Have suggestions? Please let us know.
Think Before you Flush!
Wet toilet paper disintegrates in your hands, but a cleaning wipe stays whole for days. Don’t flush these wipes – they can collect in our sewers and cause blockages. Help keep our sewers running smoothly and don’t flush disposable wipes!
Wheatland Family and Community Support Services (WFCSS)
WFCSS also operates within the Wheatland County Administration Office. At this time, their offices will be available by appointment only. Please call 403-934-5335 to schedule a meeting.
Provincial and Federal Financial Aid
The Alberta Government will provide immediate financial relief to Alberta’s families and vulnerable populations.
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Updates from Golden Hills School Divisions can be found on their website.
Town of Strathmore
Many of our residents shop and do business in the Town of Strathmore. They are providing regular updates on their response to COVID-19 on their website.
Follow Infinte WC for updates on business connectivity initiatives within our region. If you have additional support links please forward them to us. Infinite WC will also be hosting webinars/conference calls, and posting new support information as it develops. Contact us anytime by emailing the WC at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our team through the Wheatland County main line during regular hours.
Wheatland County has acted quickly to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions on public gatherings, facility closures, and a public information campaign have helped to protect our communities.
Our business community has shown strong support for guidelines and restrictions implemented by governments at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Many have been proactive with voluntary closures and other measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Closures and Restrictions as of March 28
The Alberta Government has instituted new/additional public health orders that affect businesses. Non-essential businesses, including retail and dine-in restaurant services have been suspended. New restrictions on public gatherings have been reduced from 50 people to 15 people – including employees.
Violations of this Public Health Order may be subject to a substantial fine.
Read the full details on restrictions on gatherings and businesses here: https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-gatherings-and-businesses.aspx
Community Futures Wild Rose
Their COVID-19 response page provides a local directory of valuable resources and contacts.
Strathmore & District Chamber of Commerce
As the voice of our region's business community, our Chamber is helping to advocate for our region’s economy. Our Chamber is also a member of the Alberta and Canada Chambers of commerce, with additional resources provided through these associations.
- Strathmore & District Chamber of Commerce https://www.strathmoredistrictchamber.com/
- Alberta Chamber of Commerce http://www.abchamber.ca/
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce http://www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness/
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
On-call business counsellors can help with questions about how COVID-19 is affecting your business. Online tools and resources provide additional help for small businesses. https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/small-business-resources-dealing-covid-19#templates
Addiction Helpline 1-866-332-2322
Family Violence: Find Support 310-1818
Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-387-5437
Income Supports 1-866-644-5135
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Mental Health Helpline 1-877-303-2642
Income Support Contact Centre 1-866-644-5135
The Distress Centre: 403-266-4357
- Alberta Health Services: https://albertahealthservices.ca/amh/Page16759.aspx
- Text4Hope: Supporting Mental Health & Wellness in a Time of Stress & Isolation https://albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17019.aspx
- AHS Mental Health & Addictions: 403-361-7277 https://albertahealthservices.ca/info/facility.aspx?id=1004516
- Woods Homes Community Resource Team 24-hour crisis counselling for individuals and families 1-800-63-6106 www.woodshomes.ca/programs/the-wheatland-program/
- ConnecTeen 24 hr support: Text 587-333-2724 or call 403-264-8336 https://calgaryconnecteen.com
- Emergency Social Services: 1-866-644-5135
- Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Provincial Office Contact Toll Free:1-800-252-7553 | 780 455 2200 email@example.com
- Wheatland Crisis Society Crisis Line: 403-934-6634
- Children's Services: 403-934-1706 https://humanservices.alberta.ca/services-near-you/calgary-and-area-child-and-family-services-contact-us.html
- Wheatland Food Bank: 403-324-4335 www.wheatlandfoodbank.com
If you violate this public health order and proceed to hold an event with more than 15 attendees or keep a business open that's been ordered to close, you may be subject to a fine.
Community peace officers and police will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health orders through amendments to the Public Health Act. These new fines will be in force over the coming days.
- Violators may be subject to tickets of up to $1,000 per occurrence.
- Courts could administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
If you are concerned an establishment or event organizer is not following public health orders, you can:
- remind the person that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk
- submit a complaint to AHS public health inspectors
- May 22, 2020 - Playgrounds Reopened
- May 21, 2020 - Bathroom facilities at Severn Dam and Beaupre Campgrounds closed
- May 19. 2020 - Virtual Council Meeting Notice
- May 4, 2020 - Virtual Council meeting notice
- April 30, 2020 - Beaupre Campground closed
- April 29, 2020 - Virtual ASB meeting notice
- April 24, 2020 - Fire Ban - Advisory
- April 21, 2020 - Virtual Council meeting notice
- April 14, 2020 - Virtual MPC meeting notice
- April 9, 2020 - Virtual MPC meeting notice
- April 6, 2020 - Virtual Council meeting notice
- March 30, 2020 - Office closure extention
- March 27, 2020 - Playground closures
- March 23, 2020 - Virtual Council meeting notice
- March 18, 2020 - Waste Transfer Site changes
Increasing Sanitation in our Office
Year-round, administrative areas within our main office, public works shop, and agricultural service board shop are cleaned daily. During this outbreak, we are increasing our sanitation efforts by focusing on disinfecting hard surfaces, door handles, and frequently touched objects.
Activating First Responder Safety Protocols
The health and safety of our residents, staff, and first responders is always our top priority. Wheatland County is closely following the guidance of the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services – as all persons and organizations should. We are putting measures into place to ensure critical functions are maintained including emergency response. First responders must follow various safety protocols but we have added additional measures including: asking basic assessment questions when interacting with someone who may have COVID-19, requiring PPE when applicable, transportation considerations, and post-contact measures.
Postponing Community Events
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wheatland County is postponing several events as recommended by Alberta Public Health:
• Working Well Workshop - March 17
• PSDS Round Table - March 19
• Celebrate Water with Wheatland County - March 19
• Master Plan Open Houses - March 24, 25, 26
• Farm Transition Workshop - March 30
• Annual General Meeting - March 31
At this time, we do not know when we will be able to reschedule, but we are planning on reengaging with you as soon as possible. We are closely following the guidance of the Government of Alberta and are prioritizing the safety and security of our partners and team members during this unprecedented situation.
Please click on the date bar below to expand the items.
Should I be stocking up on essentials during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Stocking up on essentials is great. Hoarding groceries is not.
Good items to consider for your shopping list:
- dried pasta and sauce
- canned soups
- canned vegetables and beans
- pet food
- toilet paper (not 600 packages)
- facial tissue
- feminine hygiene products
It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop.
The reason for stocking up is not necessarily because you will need to self-isolate. Having these supplies on hand will ensure you do not need to leave your home at the peak of the outbreak or if you become ill.
More on being prepared: http://ow.ly/WoqA30qpXKm
On May 22, 2020, playgrounds throughout Wheatland County were reopened.
Severn Dam and Beaupre Campgrounds, as well as the bathroom facilities, have also been closed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Residents are encouraged to use nearby paths to walk or run and enjoy the Spring sunshine. Remember to stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others and step off of walkways (if safe to do so) to allow others to pass while maintaining a safe distance. If a path or greenspace is busy, please move to a different area.
If you are sick, you must stay home.
Children can respond to stress in certain ways, To help your child cope with stress, here’s some things you can do to help them:
The Alberta Government is allowing certain businesses to resume their operations so long as they adhere to strict public health measures. More information regarding the re-open strategy is available on www.alberta.ca.
Home-based businesses should take public health guidelines seriously. There is no public health order forcing the closure of personal service businesses at this time. AHS has provided recommendations for these businesses.
As of 10:00am, Monday, March 16, the following facilities owned and operated by the Town of Strathmore are closed to the Public until further notice.
• Strathmore Aquatic Centre
• Strathmore Family Centre Arena
• Strathmore Motor Products Sports Centre
• Strathmore Civic Centre
• Strathmore Curling Rink
• Happy Gang Seniors Drop In Centre
• Strathmore Child, Youth, and Family Hub
• Strathmore Public Library
Participants who are registered for programming at Town of Strathmore operated facilities affected by the closure will be contacted, and their registration costs for cancelled periods will be refunded. Please refer to your association for the most recent updates on minor sports cancellations.