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Coronavirus: Alberta cases double to 14; Calgary cancels annual student safety expo

Seven new cases have been reported in Alberta, with four of those new cases in Calgary, said the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

It brings the provincial total to 14.  

Four new cases are from the Calgary zone. They involve a male in his fifties, two females in their thirties and a female in her forties.

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The travellers had returned from visiting a range of countries, including France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, the Philippines and the United States. Several of the cases visited more than one country on their trip. One individual was also on the same MS Braemar cruise ship in the Caribbean as a case announced March 9, the province’s release said.

Three of the new cases are from the Edmonton zone. They involve a male in his seventies and a female in her sixties who had travelled together, and a female in her thirties who had also recently travelled outside of Canada.

“I know that any rise in case members may feel alarming to some people. Many Albertans are wondering what this means for them, and if cases will continue to rise. I want to assure Albertans that all of these cases are travel related,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw told reporters at a daily briefing.

She said that the risk to Albertans is still low as they haven’t yet recorded spread inside the province.

“I want to emphasize again, that all 14 cases are cases that have been acquired outside of the country and therefore we are not seeing spread in Alberta at this time,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw said because these cases are travel related, Albertans should be reconsidering travel plans, or if they are returning from travel, they should take precautions if they are feeling even slightly ill.

Mayor Nenshi on city response

Mayor Naheed Nenshi spoke with reporters Tuesday about the city’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

“The city is focused on continuity for our business, making sure our employees are safe, and they know what to do,” he said.

“We’re focused on continuing to deliver public services, and especially being vigilant in those public services that are directly facing citizens where citizens gather, like recreation facilities and transit.”

MORE INFO: Alberta’s COVID-19 information page

He touched on the city’s cancellation of the annual Safety Expo, where thousands of students attend city hall for a couple days to participate in a wide range of events.

Nenshi said having thousands of students in a close environment where the activities would be very tactile and involve Calgary’s first responders, it checked off a number of boxes for cancellation.

“We thought that this particular project was one that we shouldn’t go forward with. That, and it is the safety expo, when we’re trying to make a point about safety,” he said.