Second presumptive COVID-19 case reported in Alberta

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has confirmed the province’s second presumptive case of the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

The individual is a man in his 40s, who lives in the Edmonton zone. The case is travel-related and he is recovering in isolation at home with support from public health officials.

“While I know some Albertans may be concerned by a second case, this is not unexpected. The risk to Albertans is still considered low. We have already isolated this individual and are taking swift action to implement immediate precautions to prevent the infection from spreading,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.

The affected individual recently returned from travel in the United States. He had visited Michigan, Illinois,and Ohio, before returning to Alberta Feb 28.

The case was detected March 6. Health officials are currently identifying close contacts of this individual and will be asking them to self-isolate at home, away from the public. They will be closely monitored by public health officials. If they do develop symptoms, health officials will coordinate getting them into care immediately while ensuring that the public and health-care workers are not exposed.

Alberta will immediately expand its testing protocols. All travellers returning from outside of Canada are advised to monitor their symptoms. If they experience flu-related symptoms, such as a fever or a cough, they should self-isolate and call Health Link at 811 to arrange followup testing. Returning travellers should not visit emergency departments or urgent care centres for testing. Calling 811 is the best way to get quick assessment and testing.

“I have full confidence that our front-line health-care workers are ready and able to handle this challenge. Thanks to Alberta’s focused preparations, this case has been quickly identified and all the immediate first steps required to protect the public and our front-line health-care staff are being taken,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.

This applies only to returning travellers who are symptomatic with fever, or cough.

The risk of exposure is still considered low in Alberta, however this may change over the coming weeks, and if it does, we will communicate this to Albertans.

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services will continue to closely monitor the situation, conduct surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and provide public health and infection control guidance.

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