Alberta health officials revealed Friday they had done 18 tests for the novel coronavirus since Jan. 1 but zero cases have been confirmed.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said the risk of contracting the virus in Alberta is still extremely low.
This is the first time officials have released the number of times they’ve tested for coronavirus. Hinshaw previously stressed the important number was zero: “Zero probable, zero confirmed cases.”
“The cases that we’re testing are cases that could potentially have been exposed through travel,” she said Jan. 27. “But we’re being very precautionary with respect to the cases that we’re testing, so the number of cases being tested is not an indication of risk to the public.
Hinshaw said officials are looking at travel history and whether anyone has been in contact with a confirmed case, though she said that has not yet happened.
“Our local public health physicians are working really hard to make sure whenever there’s any suspicion, people are getting the tests they need,” she said on Jan. 24.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illnesses in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.
Hinshaw said there are a few reasons why people may be so fearful about the coronavirus.
However, it is more likely Albertans will contract the flu than the coronavirus.
Anyone with concerns about possible exposure or potential symptoms can call Health Link at 811. For more information on the coronavirus, visit Alberta Health Service’s website.