New approach for COVID-19 testing in Alberta targets at-risk populations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media about Canadian measures to counter the COVID-19 virus in Ottawa Monday

High risk cases, not travellers, focus of Alberta's new COVID-19 testing policy

And as Dr. Hinshaw's message that seems to be kind of getting lost, naturally, in this COVID-19 issue is that, the most important thing that individuals can do is not get a test. Any traveller who has returned before March 12 should also closely monitor themselves for symptoms.

On Monday morning, Alberta announced it will be taking a new approach to testing for COVID-19 that is going to prioritize groups at highest risk of local exposure and at-risk populations.

"This new approach, which has been adopted in other provinces, reflects the fact that the number one thing you can do if you have mild symptoms isn't to get tested; it is to stay home and self-isolate away from others". Instead, they will be asked to self-isolate at home and away from others.

Eighteen people are now hospitalized and seven are in intensive care. They will be available for people who are providing services that Albertans rely on during the COVID-19 pandemic, like health-care practitioners and critical infrastructure workers.

All 72 participants of the bonspiel have been contacted, Hinshaw said, and said there's no further public health risk.

Seven people are in the ICU, while three people have recovered from the virus in Alberta, Johnson said.

"Changing our testing protocols will allow us to focus Alberta's testing capacity on those most at risk". "The adjustments we have made are those pragmatic: How do we focus that capacity?'" she said.

Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

On Sunday, Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju said people need to start taking social distancing seriously for both their health and others.

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