Presumptive case of COVID-19 reported in Edmonton

Alberta's chief medical officer of health has announced a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in the province, this time in the Edmonton health zone.

Second case of coronavirus reported in Alberta

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML/The Associated Press)

Alberta's chief medical officer of health has announced a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in the province, this time in the Edmonton health zone.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Friday a man in his 40s who lives in the Edmonton zone tested positive for COVID-19. The man had visited Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio before returning to Alberta on Feb. 28. 

Health officials learned of the Edmonton case on Friday afternoon, Hinshaw said, and are currently identifying close contacts of the man and asking them to self-isolate at home.

"Because the lab results just came back, we do not yet have details on this person's activities since they returned from their trip," Hinshaw said. "But I am sharing this information in order to be transparent and to meet our goal of sharing information with the public."

Hinshaw said the Edmonton patient was travelling with another person who has symptoms.

"We will be following up and making sure that that person gets tested," she said. 

On Thursday, health officials announced that a woman in her 50s who lives in the Calgary health zone had contracted coronavirus. She is currently in isolation at home, Hinshaw said.

The Calgary patient had been on board the Grand Princess cruise ship before it was quarantined off the coast of California. She returned to Alberta on Feb. 21.

Hinshaw said Friday that 44 Albertans were on board the same ship and health officials are contacting them. 

The woman lives in Calgary and worked at ATB Financial, Hinshaw said.

ATB confirmed on Friday that its Sage Hill and Creekside branches in north Calgary have been closed due to COVID-19.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 54 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including presumptive cases.

Earlier Friday, Premier Jason Kenney commented on the first presumptive case in Calgary. 

"Obviously we are concerned about this initial presumptive case," Kenney said. "Given the breadth of this virus around the world, [it was] likely inevitable that we would see some manifestation of it here in Alberta. But, again, we are assured by our world-leading public health officials and emergency response officials that Alberta is well prepared for this."

Effective immediately, the provincial government is asking all travellers returning from outside of Canada to monitor their symptoms. Those people should self-isolate and call Health Link at 811.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses. Common symptoms include dry cough, fever or fatigue/extreme tiredness. With serious COVID-19 illness, symptoms include difficulty breathing or pneumonia.

"We will continue taking whatever steps are necessary to minimize risk and keep Albertans safe," Hinshaw said.

The risk of exposure to coronavirus in Alberta is still considered low, Hinshaw said, but "with these recent developments we are anticipating this risk may increase in the weeks to come.