Coronavirus risk in Alberta remains low: chief medical health officer

Jan 30 2020, 3:56 pm

Alberta’s chief medical health officers says a World Health Organization emergency declaration over the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China won’t affect the day-to-day lives of Albertans.

Despite the declaration, the risk to Albertans is still considered low, Dr. Deena Hinshaw told reporters in Edmonton.

“Many Albertans have been feeling anxious, and this new declaration might make them even more worried,” she said. “It’s important that they get their information from reliable sources.”

She reminded residents that there have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, in Alberta. There have been only three confirmed cases in Canada: one in the Vancouver area and two in Toronto. Those cases emerged after patients travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Hinshaw added that Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal are the only international airports in Canada that receive travellers coming from China. All arrivals from China are asked additional questions about whether they’re experiencing symptoms at border entry, and are connected with a quarantine officer if they’re feeling ill.

If anyone in Alberta is experiencing symptoms and believes they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, they can contact Health Link at 811, Hinshaw said.

In China, there are 7,711 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 170 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

Outside of China, the WHO says there are 83 cases in 18 countries. Only seven of those patients had no travel history to China.

Sicknesses caused by viruses in the coronavirus family range from mild (coronaviruses are responsible for a portion of sicknesses known as the common cold) to more severe (SARS and MERS are coronaviruses as well).