Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at U of C linked to event involving more than 50 doctors

There are now two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, both associated with a curling bonspiel attended by 50 to 60 doctors from across western Canada.

Faculty and students were informed by email on Friday.

“The people who’ve tested positive are individuals who interact with both the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services (AHS) community,” wrote Jon Meddings, the school’s dean of medicine.

The annual Edmonton Curling Bonspiel was held from March 11 to 14 and was attended by dozens of physicians.

The event began on the same day COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, when the province limited gatherings to 250 people.

Five days later on March 17, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, downsized that number to 50 people and declared a public health emergency.

Dr. Allan Woo, the president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association and an orthopedic surgeon in Saskatoon, confirmed earlier this week in a Twitter post he had contracted the virus at the bonspiel.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit home for me and my family. I was tested on Tuesday and the results came back positive on Wednesday night. I am at home and continue to monitor the situation closely,” Woo tweeted.

Three Manitoba doctors also said they were self-isolating after attending the same event.

In her press conference today, Hinshaw said the investigation into the event continues and the province is currently gathering more details.

Public health should have reached out to the doctors involved individually today, Hinshaw said, but didn’t answer directly when asked if any could potentially still be practising or interacting with patients.

In a statement provided to CBC News, AHS said they have directly contacted any individual considered exposed to these cases, and these individuals are now being tested while in self-isolation.

“Again, all individuals exposed to a case are contacted directly by AHS. Only those individuals contacted directly by AHS, are considered exposed to any case. If you are not contacted directly by AHS, you are not considered exposed,” the statement reads. “So as to protect patient privacy, no further patient details will be provided.”

More to come.

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