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Edmonton-area man is Alberta's second presumptive coronavirus case

“I want to stress that the risk of getting sick of COVID-19 remains low at this time in Alberta, however with these recent developments, we are anticipating this risk may increase in the weeks to come.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed a second presumptive case of the novel coronavirus on March 6, this time involving a man from the Edmonton area.

Alberta’s chief medical officer has confirmed a second case of the coronavirus, this time involving a man is his forties within the Edmonton zone. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the individual returned from a business trip to the United States on Feb. 28. Health officials confirmed the second case late afternoon on March 6. 

“This person had a travel-related infection, had just come back from a business trip where they had visited Illinois, Michigan and Ohio,” Hinshaw said.

The test results were confirmed 90 minutes before the press conference, Hinshaw said, and officials do not have the details of the individual’s activities since he returned from his trip, or if he self-isolated immediately. Health officials would be speaking with him Friday night.

This man travelled with one other person who Hinshaw said is showing symptoms and will be tested.

“I want to stress that the risk of getting sick of COVID-19 remains low at this time in Alberta, however with these recent developments, we are anticipating this risk may increase in the weeks to come.”

All travellers returning to Alberta from outside of Canada should monitor their symptoms, Hinshaw said. 

If influenza-related symptoms, such as a fever or cough, appear within 14 days of return, people should self-isolate immediately and call HealthLink at 811 to arrange for follow-up testing either in an assessment centre or at home – just don’t go to emergency departments or urgent care centres, she said.

Starting tomorrow, testing will be done from community influenza samples taken from individuals tested for non-COVID illnesses that present similar symptoms, as a way of ensuring no other cases may be in the province and to quickly detect transmission.

“This change to our testing protocol is one we do not make lightly,” Hinshaw said.

RELATED: Alberta confirms first presumptive case of coronavirus

On Thursday, Alberta Health confirmed the province’s first presumptive case of COVID-19.

Health officials said a woman in her 50s living in Calgary is presumed to have the virus. The woman had returned from travel on board a Grand Princess cruise ship on Feb. 21, and was self-isolating since Feb. 28.

On Friday, health officials have been in contact with those closest to her, as well as working with her employer, Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB). 

Hinshaw said two ATB Financial locations in Calgary were closed as a precaution after one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19. The woman was travelling with two other people who are not showing symptoms. 

“It appears that she did not attend any large social or public gatherings before entering isolation, so this may have limited the potential of spread.”

Anyone who has returned from a Grand Princess Cruise to Alberta in the last two weeks is asked to self-isolate until 14 days have passed since their visit, even if they are feeling well.

The number of COVID-19 tests being done in the province is more than 200 a day, Hinshaw said.

RELATED: Short supply of face masks, hand sanitizer in St. Albert

When asked if people should be stockpiling on supplies, Hinshaw said that action is "probably less helpful" than identifying their contacts to see how supplies could be delivered to them should they have to go into quarantine. 

"Stockpiling unfortunately puts us all at risk of having items not available in the public when they're needed," she said. "It's always important to have three days worth of supplies in case of emergency ... but think about having a buddy system."

Brittany Gervais

About the Author: Brittany Gervais

Brittany Gervais joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2020. She writes about city hall, business, general news and features.
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