EDMONTON – Alberta is adopting aggressive new public health measures to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
Effective immediately, the Alberta government is asking all large gatherings or international events in the province to be cancelled and advising Albertans against travel outside of the country.
Four new cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total number in the province to 23, all travel-related. One patient continues to recover in hospital, while all others are in isolation at home.
“We are doing everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province. The virus is spreading rapidly and is now a global threat. We are implementing these new measures to slow its spread and limit the risks in the weeks ahead. Protecting the health of Albertans is, and always will be, our top priority.” says Dr Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health
“The coming weeks are vital in our fight to protect Alberta from COVID-19. These are serious steps, and ones we do not take lightly. I am calling on every Albertan and organization to assist our public health efforts and do their very best to comply with the public health guidance. It is critical that Albertans come together to do our part in keeping Albertans healthy and safe,” adds Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
New public health restrictions
Alberta is asking organizers to cancel any events that have more than 250 attendees. This includes large sporting events, conferences and community events. It does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres.
Any event that has more than 50 attendees and expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations should also be cancelled.
Events that do not meet these criteria can proceed, but risk mitigation must be in place, such as sanitizer stations and distancing between attendees.
At this time, schools and daycares can remain open but steps should be taken to ensure that no more than 250 individuals are in the same room at any given time.
Travel outside of the country is not being recommended at this time. Given the rapid global spread of the virus, it is no longer possible to assess health risks for the duration of the trip.
New cases of COVID-19
Four additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the province. One of the confirmed cases is a two-year-old child from the Calgary zone who is now recovering at home.
The child who has tested positive for COVID-19 returned with their family from a vacation in Florida and developed mild symptoms once in Alberta. The child attended a local daycare from March 2-6 and tested positive on March 11.
The child is expected to make a full recovery.
As soon as the case tested positive, health officials took immediate action to protect the health of Albertans. On the advice of Alberta Health Services, the daycare has temporarily closed to limit exposure to the virus. All close contacts are self-isolating for 14 days while being monitored by health officials.
Any Albertan who has not been contacted directly by Alberta Health Services is not at risk.
The other three newly confirmed cases involve a woman in her thirties, a male in his fifties, and a woman in her seventies. They are all from the Calgary zone.
The travellers returned from travelling in Jordan, Egypt, France, Germany, and the United States, specifically Florida.
All Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/COVID19 for the latest information, guidance and resources.