The coronavirus is now being called a pandemic by the World Health Organization, however, the risk of getting it remains low in the province.
So far, 19 Albertans have contracted the illness and are currently in self-isolation. All but one of the cases are in the Calgary and Edmonton areas. The other case in the Central Zone.
Symptoms of the virus include a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and a fever.
Kristi Hines, Founder and Director of Hines Health Services, tells Mix News symptoms can get more aggressive in severe cases.
“It, of course, can be more serious for some people and lead to pneumonia or even breathing difficulties.”
COVID-19 isn’t an airborne illness and spreads through larger droplets from a cough or sneeze and touching contaminated items.
Moving forward, the best way to avoid getting the virus is to adopt good hygiene practices.
This includes washing your hands regularly, covering up when coughing or sneezing and even using your elbows to ‘shake hands.’
Hines believes people need to take this illness seriously.
“It’s a new disease in which [there are no vaccines] for and it has spread around the world without expectations.”
What Employers and Employees Need To Know
The government of Alberta is requesting people to self-isolate themselves if they start experiencing any symptoms.
Hines notes employees can’t be fired if they’ve contracted the disease and need to take time from work.
She adds businesses need to ensure their workplace is a safe environment for their workers.
“If any employee runs the risk of possibly becoming infected at work, the employer would provide personal protective equipment.”
Employers are also being advised to avoid business travel to places like China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Northern Italy, Singapore, and South Korea.
They can’t, however, restrict their workers from personally traveling to these areas but workers should be aware they may be asked to confirm they don’t have the illness before returning to work.