Rocky View County is planning its response to the COVID-19 virus and, in a press release issued March 12, advised residents to take appropriate precautions.
"RVC's Emergency Management team is in close contact with Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health to monitor the situation. For now, it's important to remember that the risk remains low," Reeve Greg Boehlke said in the release.
According to the press release, residents are advised to take standard precautions to protect themselves from the risk of contracting the virus, with a special enphasis on the need for those who have been potentially exposed to self-isolate.
"Every case of the virus so far has been related to travel in some way. While the risk remains low, our first line of defence should be to ensure self-isolation for those people who have travelled internationally, been close to those who have travelled, or otherwise had a higher risk of exposure," Boehlke said. "It's far better to isolate those people from the population than to try and shut down the economy and isolate the entire population from these very few."
In the release, RVC's Director of Emergency Management Randy Smith urged residents to practise healthy habits to avoid exposure. These include thorough and regular hand-washing with soap and water, avoiding contact with your face, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze, frequently sanitzing surfaces, and resting and eating well.
"You also might want to practice what's called social distancing," he said. "Wherever you can, keep a few feet away from others."
Meanwhile, according to the release, the County has plans in place to maintain essential services should the situation with COVID-19 worsen.
"The health, safety and well-being of our employees, and our efforts to maintain important County services for the public, are our top priorities," said CAO Al Hoggan. "Our staff are working closely together to ensure that we stay on top of the situation, and that core services such as fire, enforcement and road safety will continue to function should the risk from the virus increase."
Anyone experienceing potential signs of COVID-19 – including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties – should self-isolate and seek information from medicals sources such as Alberta Health Services by calling Health Link at 811.
"Those most at risk of having a serious reaction to the virus are those with a pre-exisiting condition, the elderly, and people with multiple body stressors, such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, and poor sleep or nutrition," the release stated.
According to information from the provincial government on alberta.ca, there are 23 cases of the virus in Alberta as of March 12, and the risk is still considered low. Additional information about COVID-19 – including symptoms and how to limit the spread of the virus – is available at albertahealthservices.ca. Travel advisories relating to COVID-19 and other illnesses are available through travel.gc.ca