Calgary

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on March 12, 2020

On Thursday, it was revealed that a child at a Calgary daycare has tested positive, which would bring the total number of cases in the province to 23. The daycare has closed.

Infection of child in Calgary brings confirmed cases to 23

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

All of Alberta's confirmed cases are travel related, according to Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who has been giving daily updates on the pandemic. 

She said it's expected that the virus will start to spread within the province. 

With four new cases reported in the Calgary zone, Hinshaw called for cancelling public gatherings of more than 250 people.

She said Alberta must adopt aggressive new measures to limit the spread of the virus.

"The risk of waiting is greater than the risk of implementing these measures now," she said. 

Hinshaw also advised Albertans not to travel anywhere outside the country. She asked those who have done so to self-isolate for 14 days once they return, no matter which country they visited.

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Yesterday marked the first time a case has been identified outside the Calgary and Edmonton zones — a woman in her 30s in the Central Zone. 

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By Wednesday, the province had conducted 2,619 tests, with close to 1,000 of those performed on Tuesday alone, said Hinshaw. 

News of the infection at the Calgary daycare comes the same day a baby tested positive in Ontario, representing the first known cases of children being affected in Canada. 

Markets continued to crater on Thursday, with sharp sell-offs leading to a pause on trading shortly after North American markets opened.

Calgary-based oil companies have taken a beating since Russia and Saudi Arabia started a price war in the midst of falling demand due to the virus, and that continued on Thursday.  

Stocks prices for TC Energy, Suncor and CNRL all continued to fall.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had travelled to Ottawa on Wednesday for the first ministers conference and to press Ottawa for more help for the provincial economy, but that meeting was cancelled Thursday. 

Travel ban

On Wednesday night, the United States surprised Canada by announcing a travel ban on most foreign citizens who have been in Europe's passport-free travel zone at any point for 14 days prior to their arrival to the United States.

That caught European leaders by surprise and they reacted angrily to the unilateral move and suggestions they aren't doing enough to curb the pandemic. 

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told CBC News Network on Thursday that the U.S. did not notify Canada before announcing its travel restrictions on Europe.  

Across Canada

As of Thursday, there were 118 presumptive and confirmed cases reported in Canada, with one death:

  • 46 patients in B.C., including one death and four whom the province lists as recovered.  
  • 42 cases in Ontario, including five whom the province lists as recovered.  
  • 23 cases in Alberta.
  • 9 cases in Quebec.  
  • 1 presumptive case in New Brunswick.  
  • 1 case among the Grand Princess passengers under quarantine at CFB Trenton in Ontario.  

When asked how many people in Canada may become infected, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday that the evidence is still not firm. But she noted that current reports are "somewhere in the 30 to 70 per cent" range.

On Thursday morning, it was revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in self-isolation with his wife as she gets tested for COVID-19. 

Known cancellations and closures

Mount Royal University has cancelled two events, the Witness Blanket Exhibit opening planned for Thursday night and a budget town hall scheduled for Friday. 

The Visual College of Art and Design has closed its campus until March 14 for sanitizing after a student there went into self-isolation after possibly being in contact with an infected person. The student has not tested positive. 

The annual Taste of Bragg Creek scheduled for April 3 will not proceed. 

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Canmore on March 20-22 has been cancelled, so has Edmonton Nordic's Alberta Cup 7 & 8 and relay. 

Alpine Canada is also recommending the suspension of all domestic ski races for the rest of the season. 

Wordfest, which schedules events throughout the year, has suspended its programming until after the Easter break.


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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