General Information

About coronavirus

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause illnesses ranging from a mild cold to a severe pneumonia.
  • Novel coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is a novel virus that has not been previously identified.
  • The disease caused by this strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) does not appear to be as severe as other coronaviruses, such as SARS. Many patients have reported only mild symptoms.
  • There is person-to-person spread.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a cold or flu.
  • Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.
  • Symptoms have included:
    • fever
    • cough
    • difficulty breathing
    • pneumonia in both lungs

It is important to call Alberta Health Link at 811 ; or your family doctor if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic.

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs.
  • They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
    • respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
    • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
    • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Should I wear a mask?

  • Use of a mask is not necessary if you are a healthy individual.

You can stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands
  • staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others

Where can I find the most up-to-date information about COVID-19?

For the latest and most up-to-date information for Albertans visit:  www.alberta.ca/covid19

Other credible resources for information include:

Public Health Agency of Canada’s web page on COVID-19 at:

Alberta Health Services:

Alberta Health Services Novel Coronavirus FAQs for the Public:

Alberta Health Coronavirus information sheet:

Public Health Agency of Canada Coronovirus Outbreak Information:

Alberta Health Respiratory Viruses in the Workplace:

Remember – The best way to prevent respiratory and other illnesses is to:

  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Consistently use good hand hygiene measures, which include frequent hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Maintain good respiratory etiquette, such as covering your mouth and nose with your arm or sleeve when coughing and sneezing, disposing of any used tissues as soon as possible, and following with hand-washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers where soap and water are not available;
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently such as toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

Download or print these useful posters for your home or workplace: