The province has identified seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
That brings the total number of cases in Alberta to 14, all of which are travel-related.
Four of the new cases are in the Calgary zone and include a man in his fifties, a woman in her fourties, and two women in their thirties.
The other three cases are in the Edmonton zone and were confirmed in a man in his seventies and woman in her sixties who had travelled together, as well as a woman in her thirties.
It's believed these people recently returned from visiting a number of countries including France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, the Philippines and the United States. One individual was also on the same MS Braemar cruise ship in the Caribbean as a case announced yesterday, March 9.
All individuals who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 are recovering in isolation at home, except for one individual announced previously who is now receiving treatment in hospital. According to the province, this person had a pre-existing chronic condition.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, says the risk level in Alberta is currently low, though this may change in the coming weeks.
“While new cases are always concerning, Albertans should know that increases are expected as we work aggressively to limit the virus’ spread," says Dr. Hinshaw. "We are all in this together. Every one of us has a role to play in protecting our families, friends and fellow Canadians. The precautionary measures you take now will help shield yourself and others, especially seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions, from this virus.”
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro says Alberta is well-prepared for this challenge.
"Our system continues to respond quickly and effectively to every confirmed case. I want to thank all of our health professionals for their continued dedication. We will ensure that our public health professionals and the health system overall have the resources they need to protect Albertans, now and in the days ahead," says Shandro.
Public health teams are in the process of identifying and notifying anyone who came into close contact with these latest individuals. All close contacts displaying symptoms are being tested and even those not displaying symptoms are being asked self-isolate for 14 days to prevent any possible spread in case they end up displaying symptoms.
Additional recommended public health measures are as follows:
- All Albertans should practise good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, and should stay home if feeling ill.
- All travellers returning from outside Canada should monitor their health for 14 days after coming home. If they develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and call Health Link 811.
- All travellers returning from Iran or Hubei Province, China, should self-isolate until 14 days have passed since their visit. If they develop symptoms, they should call Health Link 811.
- Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or cough linked to recent travel or other health concerns should contact Health Link 811.
- Anyone who is feeling ill, even if they have not travelled, should stay home and not visit hospitals, long-term care facilities or supportive living accommodations. Albertans who are not experiencing symptoms can continue to visit loved ones in these facilities.
- Anyone organizing group events should undertake a risk assessment considering who may attend, the nature of the event, and what is happening in their local community. All municipalities, businesses and other organizations should continue business continuity planning to prepare critical operations for any potential interruption.