Facilities shut down as Cochrane deals with at least 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19
Local school has asked all families to self-isolate
The Town of Cochrane shut down public access to all town facilities Monday after at least two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the community.
École Notre-Dame-des-Vallées — a kindergarten to Grade 8 school— sent out an email to parents Sunday asking all families to place themselves in self isolation until March 23 because two members of the school's community have been confirmed to have COVID-19.
Potential exposure to the infected persons happened on March 10, the school said, but Alberta Health Services asked the school to wait until its investigation process was complete before communicating the information to the community.
On Monday, the province announced the total number of cases in Alberta had risen to 74, an increase of 18 from the day before. Of those cases, 52 are in the Calgary zone where Cochrane is located.
Town closures include Family and Community Support Services, the Parent Link Centre, Protective Services Centre and the Cochrane Ranche House. A full list of closures is posted to the town's website.
Mayor Jeff Genung said at this time, the town is not looking to close non-essential businesses and plans to follow the province's lead.
"We're taking this very seriously. Affected individuals have been asked to self-isolate," Genung said. "At this time, it's in Alberta Health's hands and we are following all the protocols they are asking us to follow."
Genung said the closures were proactive and that while it has enacted its municipal emergency management plan, it is not enacting a state of local emergency yet as the risk level remains low.
"By closing public access to these facilities, we're working to ensure our staff are available to show up every day, water flows to your home, emergency services respond to your calls, and communication is still sent out," chief administrative officer Drew Hyndman said during a Facebook livestream on Monday afternoon.
The local on-demand transit system will continue to stay open, but with a restricted number of riders and increased cleaning measures.
Isabelle Cliche has three children that attend École Notre-Dame-des-Vallées. Her entire family is now in isolation.
"Of course it is very nerve-racking," she said.
Cliche said she was frustrating to learn about the confirmed cases online and not through an official source.
"I'm not blaming the principal … but it is a very long time, six hours, to get confirmation. I don't want to follow gossip, but it is a small community."
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.
How can I protect myself?
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Important reminder: The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.
With files from Lucie Edwardson