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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on March 11, 2020

As the COVID-19 outbreak is declared a global pandemic and the number of confirmed cases in Alberta leaps to 19, here's what you need to know.

Number of confirmed cases in Alberta leaps to 19 as WHO declares a pandemic

As the coronavirus outbreak is declared a global pandemic, more people are being asked to to self-isolate at home, for two weeks at a time. (John Minchillo/The Associated Press)

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What you need to know today

Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Denna Hinshaw, announced five new cases on Wednesday, bringing the confirmed provincial total to 19.

The five new cases involved people who returned after travelling to Iran, Egypt, Spain, Mexico and the United States. They include:

  • An Edmonton man in his 30s who returned from international travel and began experiencing symptoms.
  • A man in his 20s and two women in their 30s from the Calgary zone.
  • A woman in her 30s from the central Alberta zone.

Hinshaw also warned the province can expect to see some cases spread within the province.

You can read more of Hinshaw's update and watch the full news conference here

Event cancellations started earlier this week, with more expected. 

  • Will wearing a mask protect you from the coronavirus? Find out in the video below.

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As of Wednesday, the World Health organization says case numbers have topped 118,000 in 114 countries.

Canada had 114 confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 cases by Wednesday afternoon, including:

Health officials in Canada have reported one death linked to COVID-19 — a man in his 80s who lived at a long-term care facility in B.C.

Large event cancellations to date

In Alberta, a number of large gatherings have been cancelled including:

  • The City of Calgary's Safety Expo, which was slated to start on Wednesday. 
  • Calgary's Olympic speed-skating oval cancelled a pair of international events due to the outbreak. The long-track Grand Prix scheduled for March 14-15 and the oval's long-track finale March 19-22 have been called off.
  • CERAWeek, which is one of the biggest conventions for the global energy sector and sends many from Alberta's oil and gas industry to Houston yearly, has been cancelled.
  • Calgary schools have cancelled their overseas travel plans amid the outbreak.
  • Two ATB branches in Calgary were closed after an employee was confirmed to have COVID-19 but were reopened Tuesday after intense cleaning.

Schools remain open across the province as of Wednesday afternoon, but the University of Calgary has told instructors to prepare online courses in preparation for a shutdown. 

If you know of an event that has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears — or any other potential news stories in Alberta tied to the COVID-19 outbreak — please share it with CBC News at Calgarynewstips@cbc.ca.

  • Find out how to protect yourself while travelling by air in the video below.

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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

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?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

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.

  • Have you got a news tip tied to the COVID-19 outbreak? You can reach CBC Calgary at Calgarynewstips@cbc.ca or CBC Edmonton here

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