Six new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta, the government announced Friday afternoon.
This brings the amount of confirmed cases to 29 in the province.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, says all cases are travel-related.
One of the cases involves a man from the Edmonton zone, who recently attended a conference in Vancouver and was notified that a positive case had attended the same conference.
“This latest case of an individual who contracted COVID-19 at a conference indicates the risk of large mass gatherings, especially when they might involve international participants. This confirms our recommendation on mass gatherings was the right approach. We will continue to take any steps necessary to protect your health,” said Hinshaw.
After returning, the individual visited a number of dental offices. All contacts who may have been at risk of exposure have been contacted for follow-up assessment and testing.
The other new cases are in the Calgary zone and include a returning traveller from Florida, and four household contacts of a previously confirmed case.
All new cases are now self-isolated at home and expected to make a full recovery.
One of the 29 is in hospital in stable condition, while the others are at home in isolation.
Hinshaw said all publicly funded schools will remain open at this time, provided steps are taken to eliminate large congregations of students – no more than 250 people should be in the same room at any time.
Post-secondary institutions have not been advised to close at this time.
“I understand and appreciate many Albertans are concerned about their children and the risk of COVID-19,” said Hinshaw.
“Students should not be worried about attending class at this time. However, I encourage school boards to take these precautions and remind your staff and students about the personal steps they too can take to protect themselves from COVID-19.”
It was also announced at Friday’s press conference that the government is making changes to the Employment Standards Code.
Employees, who are required to self-isolate or are caring for a loved one with COVID-19, will be able to take 14 days of paid, job-protected leave to cover the self-isolation period, recommended by Hinshaw.
There will be no requirement to have a medical note for such leave or to have worked for an employer for 90 days to qualify. Details of how these changes will be administered will be provided in the coming days.
“No one should have to choose between work and taking care of their health. We are all in this together to ensure workplaces are safe and the spread of COVID-19 is mitigated,” she said.