Alberta data show travel-related COVID-19 cases spiked in January

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Dr. John Conly, an infectious disease physician at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, said the increase is likely due in part to the recovery of Alberta’s contact tracing system, which had been overwhelmed for much of the fall.

“All in all, I’d say it’s probably a reflection of a combination of events: better and more accurate reporting, plus some element of increased travel that was occurring,” Conly said.

While there are some people who do have to travel for essential purposes, Conly said Albertans should minimize other trips.

“For holiday travel, we would want to try to reduce that until the vaccine supply becomes enhanced. I think that’s just common sense in that regard.”

Alberta Health said 3,226 are cases believed to have been acquired outside of Alberta, accounting for about four per cent of the province’s total cases. Of those, 1,939 are related to international travel.

According to the federal government, 40 flights that landed in Alberta over the past 14 days had at least one confirmed COVID-19 case, including 28 international arrivals.

On its website, the province advises against all non-essential travel outside of Canada. For travel within the country but outside Alberta, the province said travellers must follow all public-health orders in other jurisdictions.

Those who return to Alberta from abroad are required to isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

As well, a pilot program to allow those returning from out-of-country a reduced quarantine period was tightened earlier this week, now requiring a second test to come back negative before entering the community.

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