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7 new cases of coronavirus in Alberta; total now 14
EDMONTON -- Alberta's coronavirus cases have doubled to 14, but the province maintains the risk of contracting the disease is still low as all patients are recent travellers.
Three of the new cases are in the Edmonton zone: a man in his 70s, a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 30s. The first two travelled together, and the woman in her 30s also travelled outside of Canada recently.
The other four cases are in the Calgary zone: a man in his 50s, a woman in her 40s and two women in their 30s.
The travellers recently returned from countries including France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, the Philippines and the United States.
"It is important to note that while this is a list of the countries where these individuals travelled, it is too early to know where each person contracted the virus," Alberta's top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, said.
One of the new patients was also on the MS Braemar cruise ship where a Calgary woman in her 50s also contracted coronavirus.
"The fact that all of our confirmed cases are travel related also indicates that we continue to take the right approach at this time," Hinshaw said. "This means the number of confirmed cases will likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead."
The province is identifying and contacting the people these patients came into contact with since returning to Canada.
Hinshaw also said one of the 14 patients has a pre-existing chronic condition and is now in hospital in stable condition.
Because all cases are travel related and the virus is not spreading through Alberta, Hinshaw said, "the risk of exposure in the province continues to be low at this time."
HYGIENE AND TRAVEL CONCERNS
The province continues to stress the important of good hygiene, staying home when feeling sick, and monitoring symptoms for 14 days after returning from abroad.
"COVID-19 can be extremely serious and even fatal for seniors and those with underlying health conditions," Hinshaw said. "Think about the people in your life who have a medical condition or who are elderly."
People who develop a fever or a cough are urged to call Health Link at 811 and refrain from going to emergency departments, care centres and doctor's offices.
Albertans who are travelling outside of Canada in the coming weeks are also asked to monitor the Public Agency of Canada's travel recommendations.
"I want to emphasize that the risk to Albertans who are travelling outside the country is increasing," Hinshaw said.
As large gatherings and sporting events are beginning to be cancelled or played without fans across the world, Hinshaw said the province is urgently working on its own plan, but nothing has been decided.
"The situation has changed dramatically over the last week … we're working very quickly to get that in place so that we would be able to say what that threshold would be. Because we know that event organizers are looking for advice and so we're working quickly to get that in place."
There are currently 86 coronavirus cases in Canada, Alberta Health said. On Tuesday afternoon, British Columbia also announced seven new cases.