Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause respiratory illness in people, ranging from mild common colds to severe illnesses. Others cause illness in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact. Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

At this time, this strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) does not appear to be as severe as other coronaviruses, such as SARS. Many patients have reported only mild symptoms. There is evidence of person-to-person spread.

Please note that there are many common respiratory viruses circulating in Alberta and globally, such as influenza. This will be the most likely cause of a respiratory infection.

To help protect against all respiratory illnesses, including the flu and coronavirus, you should:

  • use good hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing
  • stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
  • contact your primary health provider or 811 Health Link if you have questions or concerns about your health

More information:

Coronavirus Info for Albertans (Government of Alberta)

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Alberta Health Services)

2019 Novel Coronavirus: Outbreak Update (Government of Canada)

Coronavirus Fact Sheet (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety)