The doctor who has become the face of Alberta’s medical response to the novel coronavirus outbreak is in self-isolation.
Government sources say Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, is experiencing symptoms of a cold and is waiting for results of her test for the coronavirus.
Hinshaw has been delivering daily updates on COVID-19 cases and precautionary measures since the first case was reported in Alberta on March 5.
The province’s top doctor has been praised for her straightforward demeanour and for relaying as much information as possible, while urging Albertans to remain calm and practise basic hygiene such as hand-washing.
In an online update, the government said Hinshaw would be video-conferencing into the daily media availability on Monday afternoon.
“She is currently experiencing mild symptoms consistent with the common cold, likely due to the long hours that she has been working in recent weeks,” the government said.
“Her symptoms do not appear to be consistent with COVID-19.
“In line with the advice being provided to all Albertans, Dr. Hinshaw is self-isolating until her test results are confirmed. Dr. Hinshaw continues to perform all of her important duties while self-isolating.”
Premier Jason Kenney, who has appeared alongside Hinshaw for the last several daily provincial updates, is not self-isolating.
A spokesperson for the premier’s office told Global News it is Hinshaw’s view that the premier and others who have been in contact with her don’t need to isolate because her symptoms are not consistent with COVID-19.
Alberta currently has 56 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and is undertaking broad isolation measures to halt the spread.
There are to be no large gatherings of 250 or more. Classes in schools and post-secondary institutions have been suspended and daycares have been closed.
Albertans are asked not to travel outside Canada and to self-isolate for 14 days if returning from out-of-country travel.
WATCH: Videos of Dr. Deena Hinshaw talking about the novel coronavirus.
— With files from Global News
The new coronavirus was first identified in Hubei province, China, in December 2019 and spread rapidly. While the outbreak has begun to level off in China, it seems the virus has found a foothold in a number of countries around the world, and it continues to spread.
Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from Global NewsView link »