1 case of U.K. COVID-19 variant detected in Alberta
EDMONTON -- Alberta has confirmed one case of the COVID-19 variant in a person who recently arrived from the United Kingdom.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed the case during an in-person update on Monday afternoon.
“The good news is that this individual did everything they were supposed to do, following quarantine, and other public health measures, and at this point there is no evidence that there has been any further spread,” Hinshaw said. “It is important to remember that the public health measures that are in place are protective against this variant and the best thing that we can do to protect each other is to follow them.”
Alberta Health Services is currently working to get flight details and a passenger list for the flight the person was on, so that any passengers who may have been seated in nearby rows who are now in Alberta can be contacted.
“There’s a time delay between when that individual arrived and when the symptoms began, and so it’s something that’s a theoretical possibility of transmission, so we are going to be following up specifically with individuals who were seated in close rows but again, at the moment, we have looked at the situation and believe the risk is very low,” Hinshaw said.
Canada halted flights from the U.K. last week in an effort to stop transmission of the virus variant.
Another variant of the virus has also been detected in South Africa.
Any individuals who have been in the U.K. or South Africa in the last 14 days will be contacted by Alberta Health Services and offered a COVID-19 test to help identify any further cases of the variant.
The Calgary International Airport says the testing pilot program that allows some travellers a reduced quarantine period is still in effect, though not for travellers arriving from the U.K. or South Africa.
The variant is believed to be more transmissible than other forms of the virus, but to have similar effects once a person has been infected. Officials say so far there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are not effective against the variant, but testing is still underway.