COVID-19 confirmed in North Zone Area 1 – Mackenzie County and Paddle Prairie
For the past several weeks, the Town of High Level has been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 to the south, largely in city centres such as Calgary and Edmonton, but also in some smaller communities.
We knew, sooner or later, COVID-19 would make its way to the far reaches of the province and have been preparing for it.
Today, we have received notice from Alberta Health Services we have a confirmed case in Area 1 of the North Zone. It is important to note while the Alberta Government geospatial map says “High Level,” Area 1 encompasses all of Mackenzie County plus Paddle Prairie. No further details have been provided on which of our communities has the confirmed case.
So what does this mean for local residents?
First and foremost, it is absolutely imperative that you remain calm. Don’t panic. The way to reduce further spread of the virus is to continue what you have been doing for the past several weeks.
That includes social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding mass gatherings, covering your coughs and sneezes in your elbow, and avoiding touching your face.
If you experience any cold or flu symptoms, STAY HOME. Isolate yourself as best you can. Do not go out for groceries or gas, and do not go out in public.
Not only would you be breaking a public health order to quarantine, but you would also be breaking the law. The Provincial Government has instituted stiff penalties for anyone caught breaking quarantine.
Town of High Level staff, your emergency responders, and healthcare workers have all been preparing for this eventuality for the last few weeks, and we are ready to deal with COVID-19.
It is very important we do this as a community. We need your help to prevent the spread in order to avoid overloading our resources.
So please, for the sake of yourselves and your families, and for the sake of your community, continue to practice these essential actions to prevent spreading COVID-19 to those around you.
If anyone is in need of assistance while self-isolating, please note the Town of High Level’s COVID-19 Assistance Line can be reached at 780-821-4010 Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Let us all come together the way High Level residents can in an emergency – with calm minds, stout hearts, and strong wills.
Notice to local residents regarding High Level Airport changes
The Town of High Level would like to inform local residents of the following changes to airport service:
Central Mountain Air and Northwestern Air have reduced their flights due to COVID-19. Please visit their websites or call them for the most up to date information.
Central Mountain Air
Phone: 1-877-872 -2216
Both Scheduled services are reducing their flights and not coming according to their regular schedules due to COVID-19 and all the passenger cancellations for all the regularly scheduled flights.
The airport has also put in some protocols in order to reduce the spread and infection to airport staff and tenants.
Until further notice, the following restrictions are in place to limit risk in the facility:
Facility access is limited.
No entry for anyone experiencing symptoms or who has been in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms of the flu or COVID-19.
No one shall enter if they have traveled or been in contact with someone who has traveled outside of Canada since March 13, 2020.
Town of High Level expands scope of COVID-19 Assistance Line
In an effort to expand the services provided by the Seniors’ COVID-19 Assistance Line, The Town of High Level would like to announce that, beginning immediately, the line is now open to anyone in the community who is self-isolating and in need of assistance. It will now be known simply as the COVID-19 Assistance Line.
“We’re opening this assistance line to anyone who is self-isolating at this time,” said Jena Clarke, Community Development Manager. “So if anyone out there needs help, or if they need groceries picked up, or prescriptions, we want to help as many people as we can.”
Clarke said a number of groups in High Level have been looking at ways to help those in need of it during this unprecedented time, and the Town is now exploring ways everyone can work together in order to avoid duplicating services.
Anyone self-isolating can call the line to find assistance with a number of different needs, including prescription or grocery pickup and accessing food if needed. The Town is also able to offer a daily callback to check on their well-being.
In addition to food, prescriptions, and a friendly voice, another important part of the COVID-19 Assistance Line is the ability to provide information. It is vital that local residents remain informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts being made by the community to protect everyone. To that end, the Town of High Level is putting together an information package that can be read over the phone or even dropped off at home for local residents in self-isolation to read on their own time.
“Our package will include all the information we currently have,” said Clarke. “And we will be updating it as more information comes out. We can deliver it to their house or read it to them over the phone. We can also email it to them. We are looking for creative ways of delivering the information to them if they can’t get it themselves.”
To access the COVID-19 Assistance Line, please call 780-821-4010. The service is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mayor's Message: Reducing Exposure to COVID-19
Here are a number of suggestions on avoiding exposure to COVID-19.
To protect yourself and others:
Practice social 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 or recently returned from travel outside of Canada
Monitor your symptoms
If you have symptoms, like a dry cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:
Stay home - do not go to an ER or clinic
Take the COVID-19 self-assessment
Call Health Link 811 for instructions and testing
This information is being provided by the Government of Alberta as a way to help people protect themselves and their families. You can find more information by visiting Alberta.ca/covid-19, the Government of Canada at Canada.ca/covid19, or the Town of High Level at highlevel.ca.
We want all of our residents to know that the Town of High Level is working for you and we are going to do whatever we can to make sure we all come through this as best we can.
Please watch our website and Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.
Mayor's Message: Utility Penalty Relief
March 26, 2020
The Town of High Level would like to provide some information regarding utility penalties over the next few months as local residents deal with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recognizing the requirements for self-isolation and social distancing is causing a lot of stress and anxiety, they are also causing serious disruptions for many in terms of their ability to work and earn a living.
In an effort to assist customers struggling financially due to COVID-19, the Town of High Level has decided to waive penalties for all utility bills until June 30, 2020.
Customers will continue to be billed for March, April, and May utilities.
If payment is not made, customers will not be charged penalties, outstanding balances will not be transferred to taxes, and service termination due to unpaid accounts will not occur during this three-month period.
Customers will not be required to make payments during these 3 months, but the Town encourages those who are able to continue paying their utility bills in full to do so or to make smaller regular payments, if possible.
Penalties will be processed on outstanding balances on the first regularly scheduled penalty levy day after this period – July 2.
If you are signed up for pre-authorized payments and are not able to continue these payments, please notify the Finance Coordinator as soon as possible (780-821-4006).
The notification cut off for the March 31 preauthorized payment is Friday, March 27.
It is hoped this change will provide some relief for local residents who are feeling the strain as we all work together to keep ourselves and our families safe.
Town of High Level Fire Department closed to public access
As part of the Town’s pandemic plan, the High Level Fire Department has developed an internal pandemic procedure for the protection of fire response and fire service in the community centred on the protection of emergency responders.
High Level is currently in Level 2 of the four-level plan, part of which includes the restriction of access to the Fire Hall.Firehall Closure 01
“We have cancelled tours by public groups and are complying with provincial guidelines of physical distancing,” said Rodney Schmidt, Director of Protective Services and Fire Chief. “It’s also for the protection of our first responders to ensure we are still able to provide the services.”
Please note this is part of the normal plan for pandemic response and not any indication of an escalating situation in the community. At this time, AHS still has no reported cases of COVID-19 in the High Level area.
Local residents will see signs up at the entrance to the Fire Hall and on the doors stating no public access is permitted.
Anyone in need of access to the Fire Hall for a specific reason is encouraged to contact 780-926-2033 or the Town of High Level Town Office at 780-926-2201
“As we move along, in our pandemic response, the public may see further steps being taken to seclude first responders in order to ensure HLFD can continue to provide a response,” said Schmidt. “As that develops, we will continue to update the community.”
Mayor's Message: Town Office Closure
Mayor Crystal McAteer would like to add some more information to the decision to close the Town Office to the public.
Council discussed the plan to close the Town Office at our regular Council meeting on Monday night, March 23.
As part of that discussion, it was decided it is in the best interest of Town staff and for the public to close the Town Office to public access at this time.
Every effort is being made to adhere to social distancing protocols as outlined by the Province and public health officials.
We are still doing business at the Town of High Level, however.
Staff will continue with their duties.
For local residents, this means while they will be unable to speak to Town staff personally, but they will still be able to call or email to speak to specific staff members.
Please phone 780-926-2201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some Town duties that can only be done in person. We are exploring ways to make sure local residents continue to have as much access as possible.
We know you may be anxious or upset during this stressful time, and on behalf of Council, thank you for how you are helping the community by keeping both yourselves and your families safe. Your diligence and patience is both noted, and we are grateful.
We appreciate the efforts everyone has made to help us all get through this situation.
Mayor's Message: Social Distancing
March 24, 2020
Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. It can help you reduce the risk of getting sick.
This is not the same as self-isolation. You do not need to remain indoors, but you do need to avoid being in close contact with people.
To protect yourself and others, keep at least six feet – about 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 or phone in your grocery and other items delivered, if possible.
Go for a walk in your neighborhood or park while maintaining distance from others.
Avoid overcrowding in enclosed spaces.
Follow Alberta’s recommendations on mass gatherings
Wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces.
Mayor's Message: Seniors' COVID-19 ASSISTANCE LINE
March 23, 2020
Beginning Thursday, March 19, the Town has started a Seniors’ COVID-19 Assistance Line to help the most vulnerable people in our community navigate the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps being taken to prevent its spread.
Seniors can call the line to find assistance with a number of different needs, including prescription or grocery pickup and accessing food if needed.
The Town is also able to offer a daily callback to check on their well-being.
In addition to food, prescriptions, and a friendly voice, another important part of the Seniors’ COVID-19 Assistance Line is the ability to provide information.
It is vital that local residents remain informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts being made by the community to protect everyone.
To that end, the Town of High Level is putting together an information package that can be read over the phone or even dropped off at a seniors’ home for them to read on their own time.
To access the Seniors' COVID-19 Assistance Line, please call 780-821-4010. The service is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on the weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.