All residents of Calgary zone with symptoms now eligible for COVID-19 testing
Those with cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath now eligible
All residents of the Calgary zone are now eligible for COVID-19 testing if they have a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said this is because the Calgary area has seen consistently higher numbers than the rest of the province.
"Calgary has had a higher per cent positive rate in their lab testing and this has persisted, even with the change in our testing this last week," Hinshaw said during the province's daily news briefing on Wednesday. "In order to get as much information as possible to reduce spread in that area, we are expanding testing, effective immediately."
Calgarians have to go through an online assessment tool to book a test, Hinshaw said, but those who complete the online assessment do not need to call 811.
Testing is also now open for any Alberta essential service worker with symptoms, and anyone in the province with symptoms who lives with a person who is 65 years of age or older.
While increased testing will allow health officials the opportunity to do contact tracing and prevent spread, Hinshaw said, self-isolation is still Alberta's best defence against the pandemic.
"I want to reiterate that the best way to contain this outbreak is by all of us staying home as much as possible and thereby limiting our chances of catching the virus," she said.
As of April 8, the Calgary zone has a total of 860 confirmed cases, which represents around 60 per cent of reported cases in the province. Calgary has seen 20 deaths to date.
The province reported 50 new cases on Wednesday, with three additional deaths over the past 24 hours.
Hinshaw said that anyone with any of the five symptoms listed should stay home and away from others for 10 days after the start of symptoms or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer — even without a lab test.
With files from Dave White