There are two more presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the province of Alberta.
In an update Sunday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that the province’s third and fourth presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus were found in a man in his 60s in the Edmonton zone and a woman in her 30s in the Calgary zone.
Hinshaw said that both cases were travel-related and both patients are recovering in isolation at home with support from public health officials.
“These individuals have been isolated and actions are being taken to prevent the infection from spreading,” Hinshaw said. “Given the global spread of COVID-19, it is likely that new cases will continue to be detected in the days ahead.
“While the current risk of exposure to the virus remains low in Alberta, this may change in the coming weeks.”
The man with the presumed case in Edmonton had recently been on a Grand Princess cruise before he returned to Alberta on Feb. 21.
The woman in Calgary with the presumed case has been in close contact with someone who had travelled to Europe: including Ukraine, Turkey and the Netherlands. That person is undergoing testing to determine if they are a presumptive case as well.
Health officials are now working to contact anyone who may have interacted with the two new cases.
“This marks four cases in four days,” said Hinshaw. “For many this may be alarming. I want to underline that three of these four cases are linked to a single cruise ship.”
She added that on Saturday, 299 tests were done in Alberta for COVID-19, and 297 were negative.
“At this point, the situation around the world is changing quickly, and all returning travellers from anywhere outside of Canada need to be vigilant for illness, quickly isolate themselves if they develop symptoms of fever and cough, and call 811 for assessment and testing,” Hinshaw said.
Last week, the province announced medical officials identified two presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, one in Calgary and the other in Edmonton.
On Sunday, Hinshaw said that the first case, a Calgary woman in her 50s who had been on a Grand Princess ship out of California, had now been confirmed by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
The second presumptive case, an Edmonton man in 40s, had visited Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio, and was travelling with a companion from B.C. who had been on the Grand Princess ship. That B.C. travel companion is now a confirmed case.
Hinshaw said that it’s possible there will be additional cases found in the coming days as health officials continue to test people who have been connected to the four cases. She said the four isolated patients are expected to make a full recovery.
She added that Albertans who are worried about preparing for the virus shouldn’t worry about toilet paper supplies or hand sanitizer; rather, people should be planning to stay connected with neighbours and family members if there becomes a need for quarantine.
“If anyone in that community circle needed to stay home for two weeks, who could support them by getting supplies?” Hinshaw said. “How could people kind of help each other when someone needs to be in self isolation, if that were to happen?
“Those are proactive things people can actively do.”
The province has more information on prevention, travelling, and symptoms available online.
At least 59 people in Canada have COVID-19, with 27 confirmed cases in B.C., 29 in Ontario, two in Quebec and one in Alberta.
–With files from Global News’ Adam MacVicar and The Canadian Press
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