What Albertans should do if they experience coronavirus symptoms

Mar 18 2020, 10:14 am

As Alberta enters a state of emergency, it’s more important than ever to be informed on how the average person can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the yearly flu with a dry cough, fever, muscle aches, and shortness of breath being the main early indicators. This differs from the common cold, which usually sees congestion, sore throat, and runny nose.

If an individual is experiencing flu-like symptoms, they are asked to voluntarily self-isolate and call the 811 Health Link line regardless of the severity of the symptoms. There is an online self-assessment available to determine if you should be tested for coronavirus. There is also drive-thru testing available by referral from Alberta Health Services.

DO NOT go to a health professional or emergency room, as you can potentially pass on the virus to frontline workers, high-risk patients, and other citizens.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and inform them of your emergency and any symptoms so they can take appropriate precautions.

Health officials are asking anyone with symptoms of any kind to stay home if they can to prevent the possible spread of the virus to high-risk portions of the population, which include those with high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Additionally, anyone returning from travel outside Canada is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of how healthy they are feeling.

Provincial officials have banned gatherings of over 50 people. It is alleged that 10 new cases in Calgary can be attributed to a house party of 40 people. While that number is allowable under the guidelines, it is advised to cancel parties, games nights, and other social gatherings, and to practice social distancing as much as possible.

Social distancing measures include keeping a distance of one to two metres away from other people, working from home, and avoiding non-essential trips into the community.

When it comes to masks, you do not need a mask if you are feeling well. For those experiencing symptoms, wearing a mask can help prevent further spread of any illness you may have. Refraining from buying masks if you are not sick will also make sure that frontline healthcare workers have enough supplies to work on treating those who are ill.

Officials have also advised citizens to be prepared to quarantine. This includes having enough food at home for two weeks, along with sanitizing supplies. Make a plan with housemates or family members regarding the cleaning of high-traffic surfaces like doorknobs and light switches, and, if possible, have a space available to quarantine the potentially ill from the rest of the house.

Do not stockpile goods. If you are in need of groceries, basic hygiene items, or other services, there are a number of organizations and groups available to deliver them to you in the case of quarantine.

Other daily measures you can take include washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, and effectively covering your coughs and sneezes.

The complete list of information can be found on the website for Alberta Health, including new measures, flight information, and updated briefings from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.