Mackenzie Region COVID-19 status upgraded following increase in confirmed cases
July 10, 2020
The Town would like to encourage local residents to remain calm but vigilant in regards to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the area following the news today that the Mackenzie Region status has been upgraded from “Open” to “Watch” on the Alberta government’s COVID-19 Interactive Status Map.
As of Friday, July 10, there are 13 active cases and 35 recovered cases confirmed by AHS.
It is important to note that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in High Level.
Administration has been assured that it will be informed by AHS if this information changes, and the Town will then relay that information to local residents in order to allow them an opportunity to make safe, informed decisions regarding their health and the health of their families.
The change from “Open” to “Watch” was done because of a growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area. The “Watch” status means that a region is above the threshold but no additional measures have been taken place at this time. The Province is now monitoring the risk and discussing with local governments and other community leaders the possible need for additional health measures.
While the Province is now in Stage 2 of economic recovery, the Town has made efforts to balance the opening of community facilities and resources while maintaining community safety.
On Friday, Town officials visited with many local businesses to remind them of their role in keeping the community safe and to provide them with information on how to do so. Rest assured that the health and safety of local residents remains the primary goal.
For local residents, we would like to provide a reminder for safe hygiene practices when out in public – practice good hand hygiene, use hand sanitizer when it is available, and maintain social distancing when shopping or otherwise out in public. Wearing masks in public is also being encouraged by all levels of government.
Anyone feeling unwell or experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms is asked to stay home as a precautionary measure.
The Town’s COVID-19 Assistance Line continues to operate Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can reach the line by dialing 780-821-4010.
Please continue to be cautious and exercise vigilance when in public spaces, so that we may continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable family members, and watch the Town’s social media and web page for updates.
Image: Screen shot of the Alberta Interactive Status Map located at https://www.alberta.ca/maps/covid-19-status-map.htm.
May 3, 2020
Check out these COVID-19 health messages, based on famous Second World War posters!
Additional cases of COVID-19 reported in Mackenzie County region.
The latest updates from the Province of Alberta in regards to the spread of COVID-19 show that as of today, April 17, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Mackenzie County area has grown by five active cases to six total.
While AHS has not provided any specific information regarding where these new active cases are located, Mayor Crystal McAteer had the following to say:
“For the citizens of High Level, I have on a very good authority... that COVID-19 is not in our community...but please do not get complacent!”
The Mayor’s message is clear. Social Distancing and Self Isolation are two very effective means of stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is vitally important that we all continue to be vigilant against this pandemic and do what we can to flatten the curve of new cases.
Avoid travel to other communities if possible.
At all times in public, please keep two metres (six feet) away from other people. You do not need to remain indoors, but you do need to avoid being in close contact with people.
To protect yourself and others, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Avoid travel outside Canada.
Watch for COVID-19 symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat.
And remember, if you exhibit signs of illness, you are required BY LAW to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 – or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
Let us all work together as a community to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic, and keep our most vulnerable in our minds – our seniors, our immunocompromised, and those with existing lung conditions – while we renew our efforts to keep everyone safe.
Stay High Level Strong. We will beat this.
Handy tips for using Town parks and trails
With the warm weather here (finally!), the Town would like to remind local residents that anyone not in self-isolation can still get out for some fresh air!
We ask that you continue using good Social Distancing practices as well as other Alberta Health guidelines. We also have a few small requests of our own for anyone out using the parks and trails - as you can see on this handy graphic!
Notice to local residents regarding Yard and Garage Sales
With warmer weather here, the Town of High Level is requesting our residents delay any planned yard and garage sales until the province lifts its restrictions on gatherings and guidelines for social distancing.
Yard and garage sales tend to be ‘hands-on’ affairs and almost exclusively involve cash transactions – both of which can cause the spread of COVID-19.
The Town appreciates the efforts and sacrifices its citizens are making during this pandemic and hopes we can all return to our normal activities sometime this summer.
Let’s all work together to #StopTheSpread!
Mayor’s Message: Anxiety and the News
The endless stream of news out there can add to our stress levels – which can harm our immune systems and hamper our body’s ability to fight illness.
It is important to understand your body’s fight or flight response to perceived dangers. Anxiety is a normal response when you feel threatened. Your body’s response includes the release of stress hormones that increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall alertness.
If you are bombarding your brain with information on COVID-19, you are only re-enforcing that threat and extending the threat response.
So what can you do?
First, make good choices for news.
It is important to find trusted sources of news and try to avoid commentary and opinion on those facts. I encourage you to visit the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, and High Level websites for information devoid of opinion or commentary.
Second, avoid the rumour mill.
Fake news and rumours spread on social media faster than any virus could in real life. It is important to remember that and not promote the confusion and anxiety that comes with gossip, rumour, and fake news.
Third, remember to take news in context.
It is important to take the news you do consume in context. Instead of being distracted by imagery or unnecessary detail, focus on the facts.
Fourth, pay attention to language.
Watch for the words being used. Slanting toward drama and a bigger story is common in the news, but social media often takes it to a much higher level – and then is shared by trusted friends or family.
Finally, try not to overload on news.
News about COVID-19 is constant, and the situation is rapidly changing. It is easy to become drawn into the constant flood of information. But the more you view information, the more you will think about it, and the more stress it will cause. Try limiting your intake of news to specific times during the day.
Notice to local residents regarding temporary suspension of Central Mountain Air flights
The following information was posted by Central Mountain Air and can be found on their website at:
As we continue to address the unprecedented challenges the current COVID-19 health crisis presents, Central Mountain Air (CMA) is taking dramatic measures to protect our business, employees, customers and the larger communities we serve.
Effective April 11 through June 7, scheduled flights will be suspended while charters remain available. Scheduled service resumes on June 8, 2020.
Notice to local residents regarding playground equipment closures
The Town of High Level would like to provide some information regarding the decision to close playground equipment in all Town parks.
The move is a proactive measure taken by the Town in order to assist with preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keep residents safe. It follows recent decisions across the country to close playground equipment on school and community properties.
Town parks will remain open. It is only the playground equipment that has been closed. Town walking paths also remain open at this time. We ask all residents to obey any signs or barricades, and to exercise Social Distancing and other public health protocols when in public.
Additionally, we remind local residents that self-isolation is mandated through the Public Health Order for anyone who has symptoms related to COVID-19. Disobeying the Public Health Order can result in substantial fines.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 prevention and care strategies, please visit the Government of Alberta at www.alberta.ca/covid-19 or the Government of Canada at www.canada.ca/covid-19.
For the latest information on what the Town of High Level is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.highlevel.ca or find us on Twitter or Facebook.
Community reminder regarding pharmacy hours
High Level Valu Drugs IDA is open regular posted hours allowing a maximum of eight (8) people in the store at one time.
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Please ensure you have communicated with pharmacy staff BEFORE arriving.
Refill requests and new prescriptions must be forwarded to the pharmacy prior to your arrival. Please speak with pharmacy staff if you are unsure of how to get your prescription to us ahead of time.
Please allow 24 hours or one (1) business day for processing refill requests.
HOW TO ACCESS HIGH LEVEL IDA for Prescriptions and Assisted shopping:
PHARMACY and SHOPPING: 780-926-3516
ALTERNATE PHONE LINE: 780-841-6290 (call or text)
FAX 1 : 780-926-4858 (PHARMACY)
FAX 2 : 780-926-2334 (FRONTSHOP)
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (PHARMACY)
EMAIL: email@example.com (FRONTSHOP)
SMART PHONE APP for PRESCRIPTIONS:
diem health for I.D.A.
Mayor's Message: Thank You
While many of us are being told to stay home, some in our community are heading toward danger, putting themselves between the COVID-19 pandemic and the communities they serve.
To all the medical staff putting themselves in harms way every day,
Emergency responders attending unknown situations to ensure the safety of us all,
Those in the community working tirelessly to provide essential services,
And our own Town staff working behind locked doors to ensure the community continues to operate,
We cannot thank you enough for your efforts.
Without your tireless work protecting our seniors and vulnerable populations, ensuring emergencies are dealt with and we are kept safe, continued access to groceries and other needs, and making sure our community is still running effectively in spite of all the shut downs, we would have little hope of dealing with this unprecedented time of social distancing and isolation.
Mayor's Message: Panic Buying
Panic buying is what happens when people begin buying up large amounts of food and other supplies in anticipation of an emergency or if they think there may soon be shortages. Ironically, the act of panic buying itself can be one of the main cause of these shortages, making panic buying a kind of self-fulfilling act.
Panic buying is recognized as a type of herd mentality in communities and is often caused by fear over a looming emergency. Recently we have seen runs of panic buying in our community for items such as cleaning materials, hand sanitizers, and even toilet paper.
I want to take this time to assure you all that at this time there is no cause for concern over supplies. All of the businesses in High Level remain open and our supply chains are all in tact. There is no need to stockpile months worth of food or supplies.
All you are doing is causing concern and frustration among your fellow residents at a time when we all need to be coming together to deal with the COVID-19 emergency. For that reason, we ask you all to resist the urge to hoard supplies in an effort to ensure others aren’t going to go without.
The Alberta government has information on what to have on hand if you need to shelter in place and suggests you have about 14 days worth of supplies on hand.
These are things such as
Canned goods like beans, soup, and pasta
Dry pasta, beans, rice, or other grains
Frozen foods such as fruit, vegetables, meat, and meat alternatives.
For many of us, 14 days of food is no more or less than a regular shopping trip.
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: Rumours and Fake News
During emergencies, it’s only natural that people want to be informed and help their friends and loved ones be informed. But when information being shared is wrong, it can cause a lot of serious problems for the entire community.
Rumours and false information can undermine public morale and spread unnecessary confusion and concern in the community.
It is especially important to be vigilant against the spread of false information and rumour on places like social media, where a single post had the potential to reach thousands in minutes.
We are asking all residents to use only trusted sources for information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada have both provided an extensive amount of information that is being updated every day. The Town of High Level is also providing information on its website and social media accounts.
Remember, we are all in this together. That is why it is so vital that we are all operating with the same information. I urge you to rely only on trusted sources for your information during this unprecedented time.
Notice regarding community volunteers
As community efforts ramp up to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is only natural that we are eager to help our friends and neighbours. We have already seen a number of instances where members of the community are publicly offering to deliver groceries or medications.
The community is very proud of its volunteers and these generous displays of northern spirit.
However, we are asking that all volunteers doing pickups and deliveries – as well as anyone in isolation or with mobility issues – register with the Town of High Level.
There are a couple very important reasons for this.
First, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we want to provide training and, if necessary, some personal protective equipment to volunteers. It is important that we do not inadvertently become engines for the spread of the virus.
Second, continuity is extremely important as this unprecedented time of social distancing and isolation continues. While the actions of a few helping their friends and neighbours should be lauded, what happens if those helpers are forced to self-isolate?
Again, The Town of High Level thanks those in the community stepping up to help their neighbours. Let us help you do it safely, and in a way that does not duplicate services.
To register with the Town of High Level as either a volunteer or a person in isolation in need of assistance, please call the COVID-19 Assistance Line at 780-821-4010. The line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.