File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COVID-19 (above in red) has arrived in central Alberta.

Coronavirus hits central Alberta

A central Alberta woman has tested positive for COVID-19.

There are now 19 confirmed cases in the province, all of them travel related, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Wednesday.

“Today, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Alberta has been actively planning for every possible scenario. We know that COVID-19 is going to test our health system and emergency preparedness, but our system is preparing for that test.

“While the risk of exposure is still low in Alberta, all partners are working together to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Albertans.”

ALSO READ: Central Alberta school division cancels international trips due to virus outbreak

Previously, the cases confirmed had been in Alberta Health Services’ Calgary and Edmonton zones. But that changed Wednesday.

A female in her thirties from the central zone tested positive for the virus.

Tom McMillan, a spokesman for Alberta Health, said the agency will not disclose where the woman lives in order to protect patient confidentiality.

“We can say that for any time someone is confirmed positive, they get support from AHS, and AHS immediately conducts a risk assessment of anyone who may have come in close contact with that individual,” McMillan explained.

“If someone has not been contacted, that means they’re not at risk,” he added.

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