Search

novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: February 27, 2020

This page is a one-stop shop for all information and guidance from AHS regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please visit this page for daily updates and consider it the source of truth for Alberta Health Services.

About COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Others cause illness in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

Cases in Alberta

There are no confirmed or probable cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Alberta at this time. The number of COVID-19 tests performed and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are reported on the Alberta Health website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Spread

COVID-19 is believed to be spread mainly by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or with surfaces they have recently touched.

Expanded Testing

The global situation is changing rapidly with more cases being reported outside China and more local spread within those countries. Testing in Alberta has expanded to include the following countries beyond mainland China:

  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Italy

Risk

The current risk for people in Alberta is still considered low. A higher risk applies to people who develop a fever and/or cough or shortness of breath AND meet any of the criteria below.
In the 14 days before illness onset, they:

Travelled to the following areas: mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan, or Italy;

OR

Had close contact* with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19;

OR

Had close contact* with a person with acute respiratory illness who was in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan or Italy within 14 days prior to illness onset;

OR

Had laboratory exposure to biological material (e.g. primary clinical specimens, virus culture isolates) known to contain COVID-19 virus.

Anyone meeting these criteria should avoid contact with others and call Health Link (811) for advice.

* A close contact is defined as a person who provided care for the individual, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact with the person without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment OR who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact (within 2 metres) with the person while they were infectious OR had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids of the person (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

Contact with a Suspected or Confirmed Case of COVID-19

Anyone who was in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days, regardless of which country they were in, is asked to limit contact with others (self-isolation guidelines) for 14 days after contact and call 811 Health Link to receive additional advice.

Info for Travellers

Returning from Hubei Province

Travelers coming from Hubei province continue to be at increased risk for COVID-19 infection.

People returning from Hubei province can help limit potential spread by self-isolating and limiting contact with others for 14 days. This means avoiding situations where you are in close contact with other people, especially those with chronic conditions, a compromised immune system, or seniors. It also means not attending work, school, social events and other public gatherings. If you are unsure if you should be self-isolating, or if you have questions about how to do it, follow these self-isolation guidelines or call 811 Health Link.

During this time, it is important that you monitor your health for symptoms like fever or cough, and call 811 Health Link at the first sign of symptoms.

Returning from Other Parts of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran, South Korea, Japan & Italy

If you are returning from any of these areas, please monitor yourself daily for symptoms like fever or cough for 14 days after your last visit.

At the first sign of symptoms, immediately self-isolate and call 811 Health Link for advice on next steps.

If, while in these areas, you or your family members were in contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or you were in a health care facility, please call 811 Health Link.

Returning from Other Parts of the World

If you were in a hospital where COVID-19 cases were diagnosed or treated, you should monitor yourself daily for 14 days after leaving the area for symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath. At the first sign of symptoms, immediately self-isolate and call 811 Health Link.

If you were in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, regardless of which country you were in, limit contact with others (self-isolation guidelines) for 14 days after the contact and call 811 Health Link to receive additional advice.

Further information for travelers returning to work and school can be found on the Alberta Health website: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#toc-5

Prevention

To help protect you and your family against all respiratory illnesses, including flu and COVID-19, you should:

Symptoms

Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. They can range from mild to severe and include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

The majority of cases have reported mild symptoms. Older adults and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are more likely to become seriously ill.

Actions Being Taken

  • AHS and Alberta Health are carefully monitoring the situation and will be able to respond effectively should there be any cases in Alberta.
  • Health authorities in China and around the world have taken a comprehensive range of prevention and control measures and are continuing to investigate the suspected source of exposure, while isolating cases and tracking close contacts to prevent spread.

AHS and Alberta Health will provide updates as new information becomes available