Alberta has confirmed eight new cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant since Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 12.
In a series of tweets on Monday morning, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 11 of the Omicron cases have been identified in returning travellers and one is a household contact.
“These individuals are isolating, and all appropriate public health follow-up is underway,” Hinshaw said.
“To date, only mild symptoms have been reported (and) these individuals are recovering at home. As (with) the other cases, these individuals have done nothing wrong & should not be stigmatized.”
She noted some household members of these cases have tested positive for COVID-19, but have not yet been confirmed as Omicron.
One household contact recently attended an elementary school in the North Zone, and one attended a high school. Hinshaw said out of an abundance of caution, those schools have been notified.
“The schools will notify any potentially exposed groups (and) additional testing is being recommended,” she said.
“It is recommended that anyone who receives a notification letter go for testing (and) monitor for symptoms. Anyone (with) COVID-19 symptoms must isolate (and) should be tested through AHS.”
Alberta Health will also provide both schools with rapid tests to help parents and guardians monitor at home. If a child tests positive on a rapid test, they must isolate immediately.
“Unvaccinated children may continue to attend school and childcare but should avoid crowded public places for 14 days after the last exposure,” Hinshaw said.
“Fully vaccinated may continue to attend school & other activities but should monitor closely for symptoms.”
She noted finding additional cases is not unexpected and the province will continue to monitor the situation and keep Albertans updated.
At an unrelated press conference Monday morning, health minister Jason Copping said the province is being cautious towards the Omicron variant, and continues to do contact tracing.
“We don’t know what the impact of this new variant will be,” he said. “It appears to be more transmissible, perhaps it’s less severe, we don’t know yet whether how effective the vaccines will work but that research is being done.”
On Friday, Alberta reported 349 cases of COVID-19.
There were 395 people hospitalized with the virus, and 78 of those were in intensive care units.
A total of 3,258 Albertans have died from COVID-19.