CALGARY — A two-year-old who recently returned from a family vacation in Florida is among four new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta, prompting a daycare in a downtown Calgary office tower to temporarily shut down.
Suncor Energy spokeswoman Erin Rees says the Pump-Kin Patch Child Care Centre in the Suncor Energy Centre is closed until March 23. The children's families have been told to self-isolate until the end of March 20.
Suncor doesn't operate the daycare but it's located in its office building. Rees said many employees have children that attend.
"Suncor employees who have children in the Patch will not be coming into the office and we're working to facilitate them working from home where it's possible," she said.
Rees added that the company is responding to the pandemic by cleaning more often, restricting business travel to high-risk areas and preparing for remote working.
As of Thursday afternoon, Alberta had 23 confirmed cases. All are travel-related.
Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Thursday that the Calgary toddler developed mild symptoms after returning to Alberta and is expected to make a full recovery. The child was at the daycare last week while sick.
"As a mother myself, I know that a child contracting COVID-19 may be upsetting for some people. Children are a vulnerable group and when they get sick, it can hit close to home," Hinshaw said.
"I want to assure all parents that cases of COVID-19 in children are typically mild."
However, she said measures for children are the same as any other case: "Isolate the person who is ill, find close contacts and ask them to stay home for 14 days while monitoring their symptoms."
Hinshaw said parents and guardians should talk to their kids about the virus, even if it's daunting.
"It is important to remember that children look to adults for guidance during new or stressful events. If you do not provide them with accurate information, they will still pick things up at school, on the playground, from television and online," she said.
"It is important that all parents talk to their children in a factual, age-appropriate way. Let them know that worrying is a normal and healthy response. Be honest and accurate."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 12, 2020
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press