Calgary

What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday, March 16

Alberta has 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, a jump of 18 since the Sunday update. Cases have now been identified in every zone in the province.

Schools are closed for the first time today and social distancing is recommended

A man uses a hand sanitizer station at the Eaton Centre amid coronavirus fears spreading in Toronto on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Carlos Osorio/Canadian Press)

THE LATEST:

  • The federal government announced Calgary as one of 4 airports that will continue to accept international flights, starting on Wednesday. Canada is barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Americans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced.
  • Alberta has 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, a jump of 18 since the Sunday update. Cases have now been identified in every zone in the province.
  • Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is self-isolating at home. She has symptoms of a common cold, but has been tested for COVID-19 as a precaution. 
  • On Sunday, for the first time the new cases weren't all travel related, meaning community spread has begun. 
  • Material is being distributed at airports to explain to travellers returning from outside Canada how to self isolate.
  • The City of Calgary declared a state of emergency over the weekend, shuttering libraries and rec centres and limiting capacity at bars and restaurants. 
  • Today marks the first day of students staying home across the province. In-person classes at post-secondaries have been cancelled. 
  • The Town of Cochrane has closed facilities to the public, after two cases were confirmed at a local school. All families at that school are being told to self-isolate. 
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, says travelling outside the country not only put travellers at risk, but also the rest of their community at home. 0:57

What you need to know today

The new normal involves closures and limited capacities or hours at those places that remain open in Alberta, including the recommendation to restrict access at long-term care facilities.

You might choose to self-isolate at home if you’ve been exposed, or think you’ve been exposed, to COVID-19. Ellen Mauro explains what to do. 1:50

Experts are stressing the need for social distancing in order to contain the spread of the virus. 

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced restrictions on international travel. Only four airports in Canada will continue to accept international flights, starting on Wednesday: Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. 

Those restrictions do not apply to travellers from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean or St-Pierre-Miquelon.

The president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority said he anticipates the facility to lose close to 25 per cent of its revenue this year due to reduced travel brought on by the pandemic. 

Across Canada

There are more than 340 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country, with one known death linked to the virus. British Columbia and Ontario — the only two provinces that are currently offering information on the number of people who have recovered — list a combined total of nine "resolved" cases.

You play a role in how effectively the virus moves from person to person, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:48

Cancellations and closures

Notices are coming in fast, so it's best to check in before you head out to a venue or event. Information on closures and cancellations for Edmonton can be found here, information for Calgary can be found here.  

Information about the coronavirus outbreak is spreading fast, but what do we actually know about the illness? CBC News medical contributor and family physician Dr. Peter Lin breaks down the facts about what it is, where it came from, how it spreads and what you can do to protect yourself. 5:10

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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