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Concerns of coronavirus grow through Calgary

Last Updated Jan 30, 2020 at 12:03 pm MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – With facemasks and hand sanitizer becoming rare commodities, it’s clear some Calgarians are nervous about the spread of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, B.C. announced its first confirmed case, a man in his 40s, meaning the virus that initially landed in Ontario is now in the west.

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For now, healthcare officials in Canada are saying the risk for infection remains low, an infectious disease expert telling CityNews they haven’t seen any transmission of the disease in the country but that’s not stopping people from being proactive.

This man said, for his family which lives in southern China, leaving the house without a facemask isn’t an option.

“It’s compulsory. They have to wear face masks in a public place like a market.”

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It would appear that here in Calgary people are following suit. CityNews has reached out to 10 pharmacies in Calgary and each one said they were sold out of face masks–a product they don’t typically have a huge demand for.

“We have been doing our best to obtain more masks. We actually have a large order coming in this week,” said Pharmacist Lauren Sule. “It has taken us a lot of effort to obtain them, multiple calls to various suppliers and we have some but it has been difficult.”

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According to experts, wearing a face mask might help to physically block germs, but they don’t offer any significant protection.

“The masks could help stop the spread of the virus from someone who is sick but typically hand washing is the best measure to keep yourself safe because the virus can easily pass through surfaces after someone has sneezed or coughed,” said Sule.

Alberta Health says there are no confirmed cases in the province but several people have been tested so far and more tests are expected in the coming days.