Alberta chief medical officer of health to provide update on COVID-19 Thursday afternoon

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, is scheduled to provide an update on the province’s current situation regarding the novel coronavirus as well as its public health response.

Hinshaw has been holding daily news conferences to provide updates on the number of confirmed cases in the province and the additional health measures being implemented to protect Albertans, as well as to answer questions.

Global News will livestream the 3:30 p.m. update in this article.

On Wednesday, Premier Jason Kenney said the province’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had increased by 61 compared to a day earlier, bringing the total to 419.

Hinshaw said 33 of the 419 cases are believed to be community transmissions, adding that of the 20 patients who are currently hospitalized, eight are in intensive care units.

Alberta has recorded two deaths related to the novel coronavirus as of Thursday.

The provincial government amended the procedures regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act on Wednesday to empower law enforcement officers like community peace officers and police officers to issue tickets enforcing public health orders.

Fines for violating an order can now run as high as $1,000 per offence, while courts will also be able to levy fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for “more serious violations.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich

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