6 pm MST Update: The Province of Alberta has announced that the province’s first presumptive case of coronavirus has been detected in Calgary.
There have been 37 confirmed or probable cases of coronavirus in Canada as of March 5, according to Alberta Health Services.
There have been zero cases in Alberta, though 173 people have been tested for the virus.
Even though coronavirus has yet been seen within the province, preparations have been made regardless for if, or when, the virus makes its way across the Rockies.
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“We are committed to working with all of our health partners to ensure proven processes and well-trained teams are in place to both protect the public and respond if COVID-19 should arrive in our province,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in a release from the Province of Alberta.
“I understand that there has been concern expressed by some physicians that they are not receiving enough information about the role of primary care in the response. This is a concern, and we will work to ensure that our communications and coordinated planning efforts reach all health-care providers who will be impacted by COVID-19.”
Hinshaw also noted that an FAQ for primary care providers in Alberta was shared on March 5, and that regular information will be provided to physicians as the COVID-19 situation develops.
A COVID-19 PCN Incident Response Task Force was created by the end of February “to ensure a coordinated provincial response to the virus,” an Alberta Health Services overview states.
The task force features representatives from all provincial zones and is responsible for planning personal protective equipment supplies, primary care, communications, precautions for infection, prevention and control, and potential assessment clinics.
“We are committed to working with all other health-care providers to ensure a collaborative response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak,” she said in the release.
“We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure Alberta’s health system is prepared.”
In a separate statement, Hinshaw urged anyone who may be sick to stay at home, and for all Albertans to consider whether or not they are prepared with food, medicine, and water in the case of potential self-isolation.
She also warned those who may have impending travel plans to stay informed.
“As we head into March break and the spring travel season, I strongly encourage all travellers to check the latest Public Health Agency of Canada travel advice before leaving the country. This situation is evolving rapidly, and advice can change quickly as new information becomes available.”