Alberta’s chief health officer in self-isolation as cases of coronavirus rise

Alberta’s chief health officer in self-isolation as cases of coronavirus rise

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health announced 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the province Monday but the news came via video, as she has isolated herself at home and is being tested for the virus.

“I felt well yesterday but woke up with a sore throat,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during a tele-conference at the legislature.

“Although my symptoms are mild, it is important to underline that no one is exempt from staying at home, even if they have mild symptoms.”

She said she is staying in a separate bedroom, eating alone and staying at least two metres away from family members.

“This is what our new normal looks like.”

Hinshaw said her symptoms — no cough or fever — do not suggest she has COVID-19, the disease that comes from the novel coronavirus. But she said she was asked to get tested anyway so she can get back to work in person as soon as possible if the results are negative.

She said the 18 new cases include people in northern and southern Alberta, meaning there are now cases in all medical zones in the province.

The total number of cases is 74.

Alberta has taken steps to reduce the spread. There are to be no gatherings of 250 or more. Classes in schools and post-secondary institutions have been suspended and daycares have been closed.

Also Monday, the legislature resumed sitting after a scheduled week-long break. Public tours and events have been cancelled and public access to the building has been curtailed.

Members on both sides of the house spoke before empty public galleries and sipped from paper cups instead of their usual water glasses.

Debate raged during question period over an announcement by government house leader Jason Nixon that he would accelerate and limit debate to get the United Conservative government’s 2020-21 budget passed by Tuesday night.

Nixon said it’s critical to ensure funding is in place for the fiscal year that begins April 1, given the legislature may be shut down at any time over self-isolation concerns.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the government has short-term measures it can use to keep spending going.

Notley accused Premier Jason Kenney of using undemocratic methods to ram through a budget that relies on unreachable revenue forecasts and harms Albertans with changes that will affect everything from front-line health care to classrooms.

“Passing this budget now will allow this government to avoid oversight, transparency and accountability for the next year,” Notley told the house.

The house is also to vote Tuesday on adding $500 million to the health budget to fight the coronavirus.

Kenney told the house that the health budget is already the highest ever at $20.6 billion, even before the extra $500 million.

The “Opposition, in the midst of a time of enormous public anxiety, is seeking to frighten people on the basis of gross misinformation,” he said.

Notley said when population and inflation are considered, the $500 million will barely cover the effective net loss of $462 million since 2019.

In other developments, Kenney updated his announcement made last week that Alberta will offer paid, job-protected leave for those who have to self-isolate for two weeks or must care for people who have contracted COVID-19.

Kenney told the house his government hopes the federal government will fund the paid leave by expanding its employment income program.

Notley accused Kenney of misleading Albertans.

“The premier promised Albertans that he would protect them and provide income support immediately,” she said in a statement.

“Now he’s decided to shrug his shoulders and wait for Ottawa.

“We’ve seen the premier break promises before but perhaps never one this important.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Hockey Canada logo at an event in Toronto on November 1, 2017. A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Hockey Canada staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested… Continue reading

A man makes his way across an office tower bridge during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. At least two provinces are reporting new highs for daily COVID-19 infections on Saturday, after the federal government’s latest modelling data showed Canada could see 20,000 cases each day if people keep up their current number of contacts and interactions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 cases keep surging in Canada as four provinces report new one-day highs

OTTAWA — Four provinces reported new highs for daily COVID-19 infections on… Continue reading

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng watches pre-recorded footage from an earlier videoconference that she participated in with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, during a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada, Britain ink new trade deal, beating Brexit, incorporating expiring EU pact

OTTAWA — Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday,… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, Christmas Wish Breakfast organizing committee chair, said this year’s event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death in Canada has raised the ire of the Canadian Psychiatric Association over the proposed law’s explicit rejection of mental illness as grounds for ending a patient’s life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental illness in assisted dying-bill slammed by psychiatrists

OTTAWA — The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death… Continue reading

The Quebec flag is seen on the podium as Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in Quebec have boiled over in the past week, with politicians seizing on a Liberal MP’s initial brush-off of the issue as evidence of indifference to a crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Angst around French language boils over in Quebec, as politicians warn of ‘decline’

MONTREAL — Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in… Continue reading

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

VICTORIA — The winds were gusting at 110 kilometres per hour and… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has sponsored the VanVleet Court at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fred VanVleet signs four-year, US$85-million deal with Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet, one of the most coveted players in free… Continue reading

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, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
‘Hardship is not a new thing:’ Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared… Continue reading

Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials,<br>Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced they're developed COVID-19 vaccines that are 95 per cent effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Bebeto Matthews
A long way from lab bench to bedside: Virus experts urge COVID-19 vaccine caution

Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials, virologists say… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read