Coronavirus: SMA president Dr. Allan Woo tests positive for COVID-19

The head of the Saskatchewan Medical Association says he has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Allan Woo believes he contracted the disease while at a bonspiel in Edmonton.

“I attended a curling bonspiel held March 11-14 in Edmonton. This bonspiel is an annual event that usually attracts 50-60 physicians from Western Canada,” Woo said in a statement.

“I believe I contracted the COVID-19 virus at this bonspiel.”

To date, there have been eight confirmed and 12 presumptive COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan.

Woo said he is self-isolating at home.

“I have been self-isolating since Tuesday morning when I first noticed symptoms,” Woo said.

“At my practice, we rescheduled appointments and surgeries and we are communicating with patients I was in contact with.”

He said it is a reminder that doctors aren’t invincible as they deal with treating COVID-19.

“The risks of this pandemic are far too real. I hope my personal situation serves as a signal for all health-care workers, and others, to be vigilant about their health,” Woo said.

“Everyone needs to take precautions and self-monitor for any symptoms.”

The Saskatchewan government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Measures put in place include prohibiting public gatherings of more than 50 people and limiting seating at restaurants and bars.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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