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Alberta coronavirus daily briefing – April 15: Data outage; mental health supports

Data feed issues were to blame for a partial look at Alberta coronavirus cases Wednesday, but the province still reported adding 126 in the past 24 hours.

In Wednesday’s daily briefing, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said that a data feed that hadn’t yet been repaired was responsible for only a partial data set for the day.

“Late yesterday, we experienced a data center outage at the ministry that has shut down our data feed from the provincial lab,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

They were able to get the total number of cases (1,996) and the number of tests (2,839) but didn’t have information on recoveries. The cases and test numbers were preliminary, Dr. Hinshaw cautioned.

No new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

Dr. Hinshaw said they would have updated numbers, including recoveries, cases and continuing care reporting, for Thursday’s briefing.

Mental health supports for Albertans

Premier Kenney announced an additional $53 million in one-time funding put into mental health supports for Albertans coping with the effects of COVID-19.

The Government of Alberta will be investing $21.4 million to improve access to phone and online supports with existing helplines, including the Addiction Helpline, the Mental Health Helpline, the Kids Help Phone and the Community and Social Services Helpline (Alberta 211).

Here’s how the additional cash will be doled out.

  • $2.6 million to expand individual and group treatment to address family violence, addiction and mental health for Albertans
  • $4.2 million to expand the addiction and mental health support available through Primary Care Networks
  • $25 million for a new community grant program to enhance community mental health and addiction recovery for the public, including Indigenous communities, seniors, families and people experiencing social barriers, who are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Premier Kenney said that smaller non-profits, charities and community organizations will be eligible to receive the grant funding to ensure it gets “on the ground to those who need it.”

“We don’t yet know when the pandemic will end, or when we’ll be able to start easing up on economic and social restrictions needed to contain the virus,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

Dr. Hinshaw reiterated the importance of the mental health funding, and making sure Albertans take care of themselves.

“No matter what you might be experiencing, whether it’s grief, anger or anxiety, these are normal feelings,” she said.

“It is important to take whatever steps necessary to acknowledge and process these feelings and protect your mental health.”