A timeline of COVID-19 in Alberta

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WATCH ABOVE: What does it feel like to get COVID-19? Dallas Flexhaug spoke with a number of people who became infected with the virus about their symptoms and recovery – Dec 24, 2020

After nearly a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Global News is taking a look at some of the milestone moments experienced in Alberta.

January 20: The first COVID-19 test is done in Alberta.

March 5: Alberta Health announces the first case of the virus. Months later, retroactive tests determined the first case was actually February 24.

March 9: “At this point it is likely we will be dealing with this virus worldwide for many months to come.” Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Deena Hinshaw made that bleak prediction as she explained all the confirmed cases at the time were travel-related. 

March 12: The first health restrictions were issued, cancelling all gatherings with more than 250 people.

March 14: The City of Edmonton closed rec centres, playgrounds and golf courses.

March 15: On a Sunday afternoon, as thousands of students prepared to go to school the following day, Alberta’s education minister announced all schools and daycares were being closed and every student in Alberta would move to online classes. They would not return for the remainder of the school year.

March 17: Alberta declared a local state of public health emergency.

March 18: “In order to save lives, I have had to make recommendations that will take away livelihoods for many Albertans over the next several weeks to months,” Dr. Hinshaw admitted when asked about the impact restrictions were having on the economy.

March 19: Alberta recorded the first COVID-19 death in the province when a man in his 60s from the Edmonton zone died of the virus.

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March 20: The city of Edmonton declared a local state of emergency.

March 27: The province announced many non-essential businesses would temporarily close and that gatherings would be limited to 15 people.

April 7: Premier Jason Kenney addressed the province in a televised speech warning Albertans about the dangers of the virus.

April 8: The province released modelling showing at least 400 deaths and up to 800,000 Albertans infected by the end of summer.

April 13: Alberta Health expanded testing to include all Albertans with symptoms.

April 22: The first case of COVID-19 is reported on an Alberta First Nation.

April 30: Details of the provincial relaunch were released.

May 4: Scheduled surgeries resumed.

May 14: Stage 1 of the relaunch began for most of Alberta, though Calgary and Brooks had to wait because of high caseloads. Health services like dental offices reopened and restaurants were allowed to operate at half capacity.

May 25: Calgary and Brooks joined the rest of Alberta in Stage 1 of the relaunch.

May 29: Alberta Health expanded testing to include all Albertans with or without symptoms who wanted to receive a test.

June 12: Stage 2 began with businesses like public libraries, wellness services, movie theatres and more reopening.

July 27: “The curve is no longer flat,” Dr. Hinshaw announced as caseloads skyrocketed, prompting questions about whether Alberta reopened too quickly.

August 1: Masks became mandatory in Edmonton and Calgary after the cities introduced bylaws.

August 18: Dr. Hinshaw called rising caseload numbers in Edmonton a “wake-up call” with the area making up almost 66 per cent of new COVID-19 cases.

September 2: Most schools opened with masking and other changes in place in an attempt to slow the spread within the buildings.

September 4: 1 million tests are completed in Alberta.

September 23: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned of a fall worse than the spring as cases climbed across Canada including in Alberta.

October 13: The province shifted to appointment-only COVID-19 tests as drop-in testing proved to only account for a small amount of confirmed cases.

October 21: Alberta saw more than 400 cases recorded in a single day, a new record. Premier Kenney went into self-isolation after Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard tested positive for the virus.

October 27: Alberta Health rushed to hire contact tracers after Dr. Hinshaw admitted the existing staff could not keep up with new cases.

November 20: “Our current situation is grim,” Dr. Hinshaw said as Alberta broke record after record with climbing case counts.

November 21: Alberta Health Services said intensive care units across the province were approaching capacity limits as hospitalizations increased.

November 26: Recordings of health meetings were leaked to the CBC and appeared to show tension between Dr. Hinshaw and the Alberta government pandemic response team. Dr. Hinshaw called the leak “a personal betrayal.”

December 8: The province announced new health restrictions banning in-person dining and outdoor gatherings, which would remain in place over the holidays.

December 15: As cases surged and broke new records in Alberta, the first dose of hope was given when health-care workers in Calgary and Edmonton became the first people in the province to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

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