Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, reported about the case in a press briefing on Monday. She said the infected individual had recently arrived in the country from the UK.
“The good news is that this individual did everything they were supposed to do, following quarantine and other public health measures, and at this point there is no evidence that there has been any further spread,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw said she is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to find details about the flight the infected individual flew on and the list of passengers on the same plane.
“There’s a time delay between when that individual arrived and when the symptoms began, and so it’s something that’s a theoretical possibility of transmission,” Hinshaw said. “At the moment we have looked at the situation and believe that the risk is very low, but we will be making those phone calls to make sure that we are providing that additional information to anyone who may have been seated near this individual on the flight.”
Over the Christmas holiday, Alberta recorded 4,488 new confirmed cases and 112 deaths from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27, bringing total deaths in the province to over 1,000.
“Each of these lives was more than a number or a statistic. Each was an Albertan whose loss is mourned,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wrote on Twitter.
Hinshaw said existing public health measures are protective against the new variant, but she did respond directly when asked if the provincial government will increase lockdown measures if more cases linked to the variant are found.
Canada identified the first two cases linked to the new variant of COVID-19 in southern Ontario on Dec. 26. The patients are a couple from the Durham Region, and they have been placed under isolation.
British Columbia reported its first case in a resident from the Island Health Region on Dec. 27. The individual developed symptoms while in quarantine after returning from the UK.
The Canada government suspended flights arriving from the UK on Dec. 20 in response to concerns about this new variant of the CCP virus. The federal government later extended the suspension to Jan. 6.