While confirming two new presumptive COVID-19 cases, Alberta's chief medical officer says it is believed more cases will come forward.
Yesterday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said a Calgary area woman in her 30s and an Edmonton area man in his 60s are the latest presumed cases in Alberta from the worldwide outbreak.
The man returned to Alberta from a Grand Princess cruise on Feb. 21. The woman was in contact with someone who had recently returned from Europe with stops in the Netherlands, Turkey, and the Ukraine.
That makes four Albertans who have been so designated, the first of which is now a confirmed case. Three of the presumed cases are connected to a single Grand Princess cruise.
Public health investigations into these new cases have already begun. Close contacts are being identified and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Health officials will actively monitor these individuals for symptoms during this time.
While the risk of catching COVID-19 within the province remains low at this time, Alberta continues widespread testing and aggressive public health measures.
"Given global spread, it is likely new cases will continue to be detected," she said at yesterday morning's press conference. "While the current risk of Albertans catching the virus remains low, this may change in the coming weeks."
She encouraged Albertans to continue to practice good hygiene habits, like washing their hands, covering their cough, and especially staying home when sick.
She says there's good cause to be pro-active.
"Unlike influenza, we do not have a vaccine or anti-viro medications to prevent Covid-19 illness. Also, unlike influenza, none of us have any previous immunity."
Thankfully, she says it does not travel like measles through the air over long-distances and time.
"However it can spread person-to-person by larger droplets, like from a cough or sneeze, or touching contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching the eyes, nose, and mouth. This is why staying home when sick is so important."
All returning travellers are being asked to monitor their health and, if they experience symptoms, to immediately self-isolate and call Health Link 811. This applies only to returning travellers who are symptomatic with fever, or cough.