EDMONTON -- A case of COVID-19 linked to the Westlock Healthcare Centre has been confirmed to be a case of the B.1.1.7 variant, making the hospital the first in Alberta to be connected to a variant coronaivirus strain. 

The chief medical officer of health made the announcement on Friday night.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the case was not acquired in the hospital, and officials have moved to implement outbreak protocols to prevent further spread of the variant.

She said anyone who is at risk is being quarantined and tested twice.

"We've felt pretty safe. And it's..." one resident tried to describe the situation. 

"It's a little scary, with this variant," her husband finished her thought. 

Westlock, a community of about 5,000, is located an hour north of Edmonton. 

Hinshaw said the case should serve as a reminder that "we cannot dictate where and how this virus spreads.

"As with the common strain, any setting is at risk of exposure, which is why we all must be vigilant and keep following public health restrictions."