COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

The Town's priority is the health, safety and well-being of our residents, staff and visitors.

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Town continues to take immediate action based on the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services recommendations.
 
The Town of Barrhead has closed all Town-managed facilities and has restricted access by the public to all counter services until further notice.

What is Coronavirus?

This video, shared by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and filmed by the CBC, provides a clear facts about coronavirus, how it works, transmits and how we can protect ourselves.


 

What's New 

Government of Canada COVID-19 App

To stay in the know about the latest updates, trusted resources and information on COVID-19, Download the Government of Canada App.
 
Updated April 12, 2020 at 3:45 pm

BARCC Crime Prevention Trade Show & Conference Postponed

The trade show has been postponed until further notice.  For more information, visit BARCC's website.

Help us share credible information

The Town welcomes the assistance of any organization in sharing our social media posts - Facebook and Twitter - or directing people to our COVID-19 website, and thank those that have reached out to extend their support during this challenging time.
 

Last updated:  May 6, 2020, at 8:45 am
 

Public Services Affected Services

Please note that this is not a complete list.


Garbage, Organics and Recycling

The Regional Landfill remains open as per its regular schedule.  Residents are asked to continue to deposit all materials into the appropriate bins.
 
Garbage collection service continues its regular pick up schedule until further notice.
 

Public Libraries

The Barrhead Public Library is closed until further notice.  All Library programs, events and classes are cancelled.  The Library's digital resources continue to be accessible and rea free for use.  For more information, visit the Barrhead Public Library website.
 

Parks & Recreation

During the facility closure period, all facility memberships will be extended, all programs will be cancelled and reimbursed, and all facility bookings will be cancelled and reimbursed.
 
For residents who need support with Town recreation program cancellations and Town event cancellations please call 780-674-2532 to leave a message or email recreation@barrhead.ca and a representative will get back to you as soon as possible.


Playground Closures

 Effective March 18, 2020, the Town of Barrhead has implemented the closure of all playground structures on Town land, including open spaces, to decrease or eliminate the spread of COVID-19
  • Temporary signage is posted with perimeter taping
  • Playground structure closures are in effect after careful consideration by the Town and include factors such as Alberta Health Services' information about COVID-19 contaminating objects or surfaces from hours up to several days in ideal conditions
  • The Town understands these are difficult circumstances and closing playgrounds impact the community.  For resources to support individuals and families, visit the COVID-19 Health Related FAQ

Dog Park

The dog park remains open and users are advised that use of the park is at one's own risk.  Scoop it or Lose it:  Dog park users must pick up waste droppings left behind by their dogs.  There are ample garbage receptacles in the dark park.

Utilities 

Utility water and wastewater service inspections, maintenance or response, including non-emergent water meter work within a home by Town staff has been suspended to maintain the health/safety of residents & staff.

COVID-19 Utility Deferral

Due to the restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our residents may find it difficult to pay their regular bills.
 
Town of Barrhead is providing deferral of the March/April Utility Bills to August 31, 2020, waiving all penalties to accommodate the later due date.  Further, utility shutoffs due to non-payment have been suspended until further notice.
 
Although all accounts have been granted this deferral we encourage you to continue making your regular payments if you are able to do so.  This will lessen the financial impact that will be experienced at a later date as future utility bills arrive.  The purpose of this program is to allow flexibility for those individuals experiencing financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
 
If you are interested in being set up no our PRE-AUTHORIZED PAYMENT PLAN for your Utility Account, please contact us at 780-674-3301.
 
What is a bill deferral?

Payments are postponed or extended to a later date.  Customers are still required to pay the bill by the new date identified on the bill.  In this case, the Utility bill due date has been deferred to August 31, 2020.
 
Are there interest charges or penalties if I don't pay before the due date?

No.  We have waived all penalties for payments made on or before the deferral due date (August 31, 2020).
 
I shouldn't have an issue paying my bills as usual.  Should I postpone payment to the deferral due date?

As the May/June Utility bills will be mailed and shortly after the August 31 due date for the March/April bills , we encourage residents who can make their regular bill payments to do so by paying earlier.  This will lessen the financial impact that will be experienced at later dates as future bills arrive.  The purpose of this program is to allow flexibility for those individuals struggling financially due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
 
How do I enroll in the program?

There is no need to enroll.  All accounts have had the deferral applied.  It is your choice whether to pay as per your regular payment schedule or to wait until the deferral date.  We encourage those who can pay earlier to do so.
 
Where can I get more information?

Call the office at 780-674-3301 or email town@barrhead.ca.


 
See also:  Health-Related FAQ, Facility Closures

Answers to Common Health Questions

If I am under isolation, can I leave my property?

The Government of Alberta has updated directives regarding self-isolation and physical distancing.  These important directives, can be found on the Government of Alberta website.

It is vital that all residents read and follow these directives.

Updated:  April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am


What can I do to stay healthy?

PHYSICAL DISTANCING
 
"Physical Distancing" with social connection (formerly called social distancing) is a relatively new term that is being used to outline to citizens how they can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.  Physical distancing is a term that refers to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully reduce community transmission of the virus.

  • keep at least 6 feet (about the length of a hockey stick) from others when going out for groceries, medical trips and other essential needs
  • limit the number of times you leave your home for errands; try to limit grocery store visits to once a week
  • try to have only one person in the household do the shopping
  • try to shop at less busy times
  • order online to have groceries or other items delivered, if possible
  • go for a walk in your neighbourhood or park while maintaining distance from others
  • avoid overcrowding in elevators or other enclosed places
  • follow Alberta's mandatory restrictions on gatherings
  • wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces
  • A fact sheet on physical distancing is available online
 
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE 
 
Although public health measures are in place to quickly identify potential cases, all Albertans must take personal steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
 
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
  • avoid travel outside Canada
  • isolate for 14 days if you were exposed to COVID-19 or have returned from travel from outside Canada.  If sysmptoms occur, you must remain in isolation for an additional 10 days from teh onset of your symptoms or until you're feeling better, whichever is longer.
  • isolate for at least 10 days if you are experiencing a COVID-19 symptom not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.
  • if you are tested and the result is negative for COVID-19, you are not legally required to isolate.
  • watch for COVID-19 symptoms
 
STRATEGIES FOR STAYING HEALTHY
 
Though there's much about the COVID-19 outbreak out of our control, you can choose to embrace the kinds of activities that will keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.  Staying active is always important to maintain good mental and physical health, especially now.


 
Updated:  May 12, 2020 at 9:30 am
 

Is there an app with national COVID-19 information (stats, updates and resources)?

Download the Government of Canada app to stay in the know about the latest updates, trusted resources and information on COVID-19.
 
Updated:  April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am
 

What if I recently returned to Canada (international travel)?

All travelers returning from outside Canada, with the exception of those who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, are ordered to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days and to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.  All Canadians are being advised to avoid non-essential travel until further notice.
 
Updated:  May 12, 2020 at 9:30 am
 

What if I can't reach 811 or my physician?

While you are not recommended to attend a physician in person, where you have symptoms or are following health guidelines, you must contact Alberta Health Services first for instructions (via 811 or their website).  Due to high call volumes, AHS is recommending that people first go to the ahs.ca/covid screening site for assistance.  Use the online screening tool to determine whether you need to call 811 to get tested.
 
Updated:  April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am


When should I call 911?

Please only call 911 if you need help from police, fire or an ambulance in an emergency.  If you are calling Health Link 811 and cannot get through, please do not call 911 unless it is a medical emergency.  911 cannot answer COVID-19 inquiries; only 811 can.
 
Updated:  April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am


When someone tests positive, isn't the public at risk?

  • As soon as a case is identified, the Alberta Government's public health measures take immediate action to protect Albertans.
  • Once a case is confirmed, Alberta Health Services immediately conducts a risk assessment of anyone who may have come in close contact with the person who is confirmed as positive for COVID-19.
  • Anyone who may have come in close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home, away from the public, until 14 days have passed since their last contact with teh case and will be closely monitored by public health officials.
  • If symptoms develop, health officials will coordinate getting care immediately while ensuring that the public and health-care workers are not exposed.
  • Anyone who is not contacted by Alberta Health Services is not at risk and does not need to take any additional measures.
 
Updated:  April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am


Can someone who tested positive spread the virus in public places?

  • Alberta Health takes swift action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Anyone who tested positive or who was in close contact with someone who did is asked to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
  • It's important to remember how this virus spreads.  Unlike measles, it is not airborne.
  • At this time, it appears COVID-19 is transmitted through person-to-person spread by larger droplets, like from a cough or sneeze, or touching contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Individuals who passed a confirmed case on the street are not at risk to have contracted the virus.
  • Alberta Health continues to act on the best possible information and alert Albertans as appropriate, including updating travel advice and recommending against any travel outside of the country.
Updated April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

 
Effective March 18, 2020, the Town of Barrhead has implemented the closure of all playground structures on Town land, including schools and open spaces, to decrease or eliminate the spread of COVID-19.
 

The following Town facilities are closed until further notice.

Closed Front Counters

Effective March 17, 2020, all Town of Barrhead front counter facilities have closed to the public to be consistent with many municipal counterparts.
  • Town of Barrhead Administration office
  • Town of Barrhead Public Works office
  • Barrhead Regional Fire Department
  • RCMP Office - Limited Service

Closed Town Facilities

  • Barrhead Agrena/Walking Track (Opening August 2020, with restrictions)
  • Barrhead Public Library (Opening July 2, 2020, with restrictions)
  • Barrhead Regional Aquatics Center (Opening July 6, 2020 with restrictions)
  • Blue Heron Bowling
  • Curling Rink
  • Senior Drop-In Center
  • Water Treatment Plant

Uncertainty can be emotionally overwhelming

Caring for yourself and others in uncertain times can be challenging.  In times like the ones we are currently facing, it is normal to feel anxious and worried, and not know what to do.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, taking a moment to acknowledge you are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation can be a helpful first step.  Whatever you are feeling is OK, but know there is help available if you are struggling.
 
Often when we face stress, our wellness practices and healthy habits may give way to other priorities or concerns.  That said, maintaining our wellness physically, mentally and spiritually during times of stress is one of the most important things we can do both for ourselves and those around us.  There are steps that you can take to recharge your batteries and prepare for the unknown  Consider the tips in the resources below to help you maintain your wellness.
 

Consult useful online resources

Resources to help you or someone you know impacted by financial pressures, unexpected difficulties, unemployment or stressful situations.
 
Anxiety Canada
 
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
 
Psychologists' Association of Alberta
 

Rely on trusted sources of information

Though there's much about the coronavirus outbreak over which you have no control, you can choose to embrace teh kinds of practices that will keep you and your loved ones safe, such as the health practices suggested by the World Health Organization and Alberta Health Services.
 
Only Share and read/watch reliable information
 
Another way to care for yourself is to care for others by sharing the best information you've discovered.
 
When you find a reputable resource that's particularly helpful, share it with a loved one.  When you learn about practices that keep people safe, let a relative who is vulnerable to illnewss know.  In a culture where peopel are feeling anxious, you can be a gift to others.
 
If you become consumed by breaking news about the spread of the coronavirus, you can also choose to step away from media reports for a time.  At the same time, if you find yoruself feeling overwhelmed by the news or compulsively checking the news, then you need to take a break and set limits for yourself.
 

Find someone to listen

If you or someone you know needs help, the following counselling resources can be reached by phone.
  • Distress Line:  780-482-4357 (24/7)
  • Mental Health Help Line:  1-877-303-2642 (24/7)
  • Family Violence Info Line:  780-310-1818 (24/7)
  • Kids Help Phone:  1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868 (24/7)
  • Children's Mental Health Crisis & Response Team:  780-427-4491 or visit their site for hours of operation
  • Addictions Help Line: 1-866-332-2322
  • AHS Mental Health Helpline:  1-877-303-2642
  • Child Abuse Hotline (including reporting suspected child abuse):  1-800-387-KIDS (5437)  (24/7)
  • LGBT Youthline:  1-800-268-9688 (2-7:30 pm MT Sunday - Friday)
  • Trans Lifeline:  1-877-565-8860 (24/7)
  • Indigenous Hope for Wellness Help Line:  1-855-242-3310 (24/7)
  • Information and referral to services:  call 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca
  • Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre Crisis Line:  call or text 1-866-956-1099 (24/7)
  • Alberta Council of WOmen's Shelters Line (to connect to your local shelter):  1-866-331-3933 (24/7)
  • Online Alcoholics Anonymous Counselling (meeting directory)

Keeping Safe, Active and Healthy

Though there's much about the COVID-19 outbreak out of our control, you can choose to embrace the kinds of activities that will keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
 
 

Fitness and Recreation Ideas

Staying active is always important to maintain good mental and physical health, especially now.  Exercise can help lower stress, increase your energy and brighten your mood.  IF you prefer exercising in the comfort of your home or feel like getting some fresh air outside, here are some fitness and recreation ideas to try.
  • Visit a Town park such as Cecile Martin park or take advantage of the trail system that winds through town
  • Effective March 18, the Town of Barrhead has implemented the closure of all playground structures on Town land, including schools and open spaces, to decrease or eliminate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Exercise at home.
  • Other ideas for family activities include: getting a start on gardening and planting seeds, setting up a bird feeder and watching the birds flock to it, work on a home renovation project, play favourite board games and do puzzles with household family, pick up a book you've meant to read, or start a journal
 
 
Managing Stress and Anxiety
It is natural to experience stress and anxiety in the face of something we cannot control.
Listen to your emotions, noticing any anxiety, sadness, anger or detachment.
When you notice troubling symptoms, pause to care for your body and mind.  If you become unable to manage or function well, visit Anxiety Canada to review helpful information and coping strategies.
 

Taking Care of Yourself

You can support your mental health by:
  • Maintaining your normal routines at home and do enjoyable activities.
  • Connecting with family and friends over the phone, social media, and online video chat apps
  • Eating well and staying active, getting adequate rest
  • Nurturing your spirit through mindfulness, exercise or prayer
  • Choosing to step away or set limits for yourself from media reports on the spread of COVID-19

Resources

For families with children at home now, here are some web links with information and creative and fun activities to fill teh day.

What does it mean?

"Physical Distancing" with social connection (formerly called social distancing) is a relatively new term that is being used to outline to citizens how they can reduce teh risk of spreading COVID-19.  Physical distancing is a term that refers to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully reduce community transmission of the virus/
 
The Government of Canada defines physical distancing as measures taken to minimize close contact with others in the community and include:  quarantine and self-isolation at the individual level as well as other community-based approaches (e.g. avoiding crowing, school measures and closures, workplace measures and closures, public/mass gathering cancellations).  This means that physical distancing includes everything from full-on quarantine to just generally avoiding crowded places.
 
The main point of physical distancing is taking the deliberate action to increase the space between people.  If you do have to be in public, maintain physical distancing (2 metres separation) to decrease or eliminate the risk for droplet transmission.
 
So what does this mean to the average resident or business?
The Town has taken steps to assist with physical distancing in Barrhead through current facility and front counter closures and event cancellations/postponements.  We have also taken other steps, such as limiting seating during Council meetings so that visitors and council can only sit 2 metres apart.
 
What can you do as a local business owner?
Premier Jason Kenney has announced the closure of all non-essential retail and personal service businesses, as well as dine-in restaurants, in order to maintain the health of Albertans.
 
If you have questions about whether your business is considered essential, please see the Government of Alberta's list or email the Government of Alberta directly at biz.connect@gov.ab.ca.
 

When to not be at work

  • Follow Alberta Health Services guidelines for when to send home sick employees and when employees should initiate self-quarantine
  • Allow all employees who can to work from home
  • Remain flexible with hours of operations, allowing staff to stagger shifts, so they are not in close physical contact
 

Cleanliness

  • Have hand sanitizer available to patrons as soon as they come into your business
  • Use disinfecting wipes to clean pin pads on credit/debit machines after each use.
  • Don't have staff handle patron debit and credit cards; have patrons use the machine themselves and then disinfect teh machine
 

Contact

  • For department meetings and staff gatherings, cancel or keep to a smaller team.  Use virtual meetings whenever possible.
  • When you do have to be together, keep a distance of 2 metres between people
  • If you business will allow for it, close offices to foot traffic
  • Set back approaches to counters, so patrons stay 2 metres back from counter staff, if feasible
  • Post signs asking patrons to stay 2 metres apart in line-ups
  • Limit capacity in restaurants and businesses as much as possible, so patrons remain 2 metres apart
 

Protect yourself and others

  • Keep at least 6 feet (the length of a bicycle) from others when going out for groceries, medical trips and other essential needs
  • Limit the number of times you leave your home for errands
  • Try to shop at less busy times
  • Order online to have groceries or other items delivered if possible
  • Go for a walk in your neighbourhood or park while maintaining distance from others
  • Avoid overcrowding in elevators or other enclosed spaces
  • Follow Alberta's recommendations on mass gatherings
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces

Ordering

  • Have people order in advance if possible and pay in advance for pickup or delivery
  • If you can pay in advance, have delivery orders dropped off on doorsteps without contact
  • Support local business as much as possible

For More Information


Additional Information

The following definitions of the different levels of physical distancing were taken from the Government of Canada website and are described as follows:
  • Mandatory quarantine:  Defined as "the imposed separation or restriction of movement of individuals, groups, or communities, for a defined period of time and in a location determined by the public health authority.
  • Isolation:  Not leaving your home, using public transportation, having supplies delivered rather than doing your own errands, and, in the case that you do need to leave your home, wearing a mask and maintaining two metres distance from others.
  • Voluntary home quarantine ("self-isolation"):  remaining in a home setting and avoiding contact with others.
  • Protective self-separation:  Avoiding contact with others and staying home when possible.  Recommended for those who are high-risk (odler adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions or people with compromised immune systems).
  • Voluntary avoidance of crowded places:  Involves avoiding crowded places or anywhere that rapid self-isolation may not be possible at the onset of symptoms.  If you do have to be in public, maintain physical distancing (2 metres of separation) to reduce the risk for droplet transmission.