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First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Alberta

Last Updated Mar 6, 2020 at 6:01 am MDT

EDMONTON – Alberta has its first presumptive case of COVID-19.

At a conference Thursday afternoon, the province’s chief medical officer said the infected person is a woman in her 50s from the Calgary zone who became infected while aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship in California.

She arrived back in Alberta on Feb. 21, but didn’t self isolate until Feb. 28. She is recovering at home and is expected to make a full recovery.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking any of the other cruise ship passengers to self-isolate for at least 14 days. Even if you’re not feeling ill, Hinshaw says stay home and call 811 before going into your doctor’s office.

“We take this extremely seriously and are doing all we can to minimize risk and to keep Albertans safe. While some may be concerned, I remind Albertans that the risk is still low in our province. We are already taking the necessary precautions to prevent the infection from spreading,” said Hinshaw.

She says details are still emerging, but the province is working with the federal government to track down all other Canadian passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship for further testing. It is also trying to track down people who may have come into contact with the infected woman.

The sample from the infected woman has to be confirmed at the national lab in Winnipeg, which Hinshaw expects will take a couple of days.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 is still considered to be low in Alberta.

Hinshaw says Albertans are still being encouraged to practice good hygiene–including cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick–to protect yourself from the virus.

The province says it will provide more details as they become clear.