As concerns over COVID-19 continue to rise, the Alberta government is implementing some changes to protect the safety of vulnerable patients, the public as well as hospital workers.

Restrictions have been put in place to limit the number of people visiting hospitals. Health Care officials say that only one visitor will be allowed to see a patient at any time and they must be free of any flu-like symptoms.

These newly implemented restrictions also mean that children won't be permitted to visit patients in hospitals under normal circumstances. Doctors will evaluate individual circumstances and may make exceptions depending on the case.

Anyone in self-isolation or awaiting COVID-19 test results are not permitted to visit an Alberta hospital and anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus will need to be cleared by a doctor before visiting a hospital.

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says this is a necessary precaution. She says “We recognize that this will likely be difficult for families and loved ones, but we must do all we can to minimize the risk of infection to our residents and staff,”

She continues to say that “COVID-19 has forced us to make some extremely difficult decisions. We have had to weigh lives against livelihoods and in order to save lives, I have had to make recommendations that will take away livelihoods from many Albertans for the next several weeks to months.”

On Thursday, just two weeks after the first presumptive case of COVID-19 was reported in Alberta, the first death in the province due to COVID-19 was reported. The man in his 60's had not travelled outside the country and contracted the coronavirus by community transmission.