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10 new coronavirus cases in Alberta, 2 in intensive care
EDMONTON -- There are 10 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, bringing the province total to 39.
Two of the 10 new cases are in intensive care, the province said. They are in their 60s and in the Edmonton and Calgary zones. The rest are self-isolated at home and expected to make a full recovery.
Six of the new cases are in the Calgary Zone, the other four are in the Edmonton Zone.
"The reality is that we can expect cases of COVID-19 to continue in Alberta and around Canada for months," Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
Eight of the cases are connected to travel, including Vancouver, Las Vegas, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Pakistan.
The province is investigating the other two cases.
"If there is a travel-related connection that we haven't yet identified, or community spread, which of course would be significant.
"We can't take for granted that if someone hasn’t travelled, they automatically are immune from having COVID. I believe it to be rare at this point, but we need to be prepared that we could see community spread."
The province continues to recommend against international travel and asks returning Albertans to self-isolate for 14 days.
On Saturday, the province began to post flight information online so returning travellers can see if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 on their flight. The information includes flight number, date and seats at risk of exposure.
The flights Alberta is currently flagging involved Air Canada, West Jet and KLM planes, and they landed in the province from Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Germany, London, UK, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Cairo, Egypt.
"Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, we're seeing more and more flights with passengers confirmed to have the virus," Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw held a call with 500 education officials Saturday to recommend that schools remain open.
"If we do make the decision to close schools, it will be considering long-term closure. This pandemic will not end in a matter of weeks, and there won’t be a clear opportunity to reopen schools, likely not until September at the earliest."
If the situation warrants it, Hinshaw said she is prepared to close an individual school, a group of schools or a school division.
Hinshaw continued to emphasize the importance of staying home when feeling sick, especially with a cough or fever. School are practicing a zero tolerance when it comes to sick students.
"This would be the cornerstone: making sure no sick children are in school."
HEALTH LINK AND ONLINE SELF-ASSESSMENT
On Friday, the province launched an online self-assessment tool where Albertans can see if their symptoms match with COVID-19.
Hinshaw said 300,000 Albertans have used it since, which has eased the burden on Health Link.
There are more than 200 cases of coronavirus in Canada. On Saturday, P.E.I confirmed its first case.