40 residents of this Calgary skyscraper caught COVID-19 but the cause of the epidemic remains unknown

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Tatjana Dunn first heard of an ongoing COVID-19 case in her Calgary condominium building by email from her owner on June 10.The day before, its owner was informed by the building management company.

More than a week later, her friends started sending her messages: her 25-story building was in the news.

“I was afraid I might have exposed my friends and loved ones to the virus without knowing it, and I was a little afraid of the building,” said Dunn.

Alberta health services officially declared an outbreak at The Verve, a condominium building in the city’s East Village, on June 22, according to a spokesperson. On Saturday, there were 40 cases of COVID-19 – 31 active and nine recovered. Three people were hospitalized on Thursday.

Dunn is confused as to how the virus has spread through his building and feels that the skyscraper and its people have been unjustly stigmatized.

From what Dunn saw, the common areas of the building are clean and protocols are in place to ensure that people enter and leave the building safely.

The facility is closed, a lounge where people normally congregate is closed and all furniture has been removed, and Dunn said that the building staff were wearing masks.

“Maybe someone had a rally they know they weren’t supposed to have,” she said.

A senior official at the World Health Organization has backed down on claims that the spread of COVID-19 in asymptomatic people is “very rare,” amid reactions from experts citing a lack of data. Power & Politics talks to doctors Zain Chagla and Samir Gupta about asymptomatic transmission and messages from the WHO. 8:15 a.m.

The 288-unit building includes shops on the ground floor. Those who live on the base of the five-story podium have a separate entrance and elevator from those who live in the tower.

Dunn said she and her roommate are looking for answers and have questions for AHS.

“I would ask them which floors have been affected and whether there are patterns or clusters to be aware of in specific places in the building. I would also really like to know if anyone has come forward about a rally or something like that. , ” she says. “Because there is nothing written down, everything is an option. “

Most cases have no known exposure

Much of what Dunn is looking for is under investigation.

Most of the cases have no known exposure and no clear link to other people in the building, which AHS officials have found. The investigation is investigating whether there have been person-to-person transmissions, and the investigators are also studying the spread over the surface.

AHS said investigators would examine high contact surfaces as a potential source of transmission and plan to conduct environmental sampling this week – which includes tests on air, surfaces and water.

Health Canada has stated that close contact with people is the most common way to spread the new coronavirus, and it is not yet known how long the virus will persist on different surfaces.

We will just continue to be diligent.-Tatjana Dunn, Verve resident in Calgary

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, first mentioned the epidemic in her June 19 update. At that time, she said that a high-rise building in Calgary had 12 cases. She didn’t name the building.

A week later, she insisted on the importance of not stigmatizing a specific place or group of people, because it is essential that those who present themselves and be screened do not suffer negative consequences and continue to cooperate with them. authorities.

“All steps that need to be taken to prevent the spread are taken,” said Hinshaw. “Alberta Health Services works with this group of people and receives a lot of support from this building management group.

AHS said an increase in the number of cases in the building has been noted, public health inspectors have visited the site to inspect food establishments and residential areas.

“Appropriate measures to reduce transmission were already in place at that time, including improved cleaning practices, and no procedural failings were identified,” the statement said by email.

An infectious disease specialist answers questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether two meters are enough for physical distance. 3:05

The management company FirstService Residential has kept residents informed of many emails that CBC News has examined. The building management organized a town hall for the residents of Verve this week, and another is planned this week. On-site tests have also been made available.

Dunn said she lined up and quickly got negative, although she noticed that a lot of people in the line weren’t wearing masks.

Close friends also tested negative.

“We will just continue to be diligent,” she said. “Continue to follow the recommended protocols for washing your hands frequently, wearing masks, limiting those in your home and the frequency with which we are in public spaces. “

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