Alberta confirms 18 new COVID-19 cases; total climbs to 74
EDMONTON -- There are now 74 cases of coronavirus in Alberta after the province announced another 18 Monday.
COVID-19 has now reached every health zone in Alberta with two of the new cases confirmed in the north and south zones. There are also 52 cases in the Calgary zone, 18 cases in the Edmonton zone and two cases in the Central zone.
Five of the 74 Alberta patients are in hospital in stable condition, while the rest are in self-isolation and expected to make a full recovery.
Two cases, one in the Edmonton zone and one in the Calgary zone, were confirmed to be the result of community transmission.
"I am concerned for that potential for community spread," said Alberta's top doctor, Deena Hinshaw.
Hinshaw delivered her update from self-isolation, after she began to experience common cold symptoms Monday morning and tested for COVID-19 as precaution.
Hinshaw says she woke up with a sore throat, and while her symptoms are mild and not consistent with COVID-19 with no cough or fever, she decided to self-isolate as she awaits test results.
"I'm fortunate to be able to have a spare bedroom where I can self-isolate with my own bathroom," Hinshaw said. "I'm not eating meals with my family. I'm staying two metres away from others in my household. Even though my symptoms are mild, I believe it is important to follow the advice I have been providing to others over the last several weeks. This is another part of our new normal."
On Sunday, the province decided to suspend classes at all schools and post-secondary institutions, and childcare facilities.
Hinshaw has clarified that private childcare providers are allowed to remain open since they care for up to six children.
"These arrangements are not monitored by the province," the doctor said.
CALGARY GATHERING AND FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS
Seven of Alberta's 17 cases announced Sunday stemmed from a single gathering in the Calgary area.
"There were approximately 40 people gathered in a home, and the source of the infection was someone who traveled from outside the country. And there was transmission at that event," Hinshaw said.
Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would close its borders to most non-citizens or residents starting Wednesday, and that international flights would be rerouted to Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
"If you're abroad, it's time for you to come home. If you've just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days, and finally all Canadians as much as possible, should stay home," Trudeau said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Blood Services says it's seen a "worrying" spike in cancellations of appointments to donate blood.
The non-profit made a plea to Canadians to continue donating, and Hinshaw agrees.
"It is safe to donate blood during COVID-19. Your donation can help save a life," she said.
As of 4:45 p.m., there were 441 coronavirus cases in Canada.