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Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from its COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18 that required mandatory isolation.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says they include runny nose and sore throat.

She says starting Monday, if someone under the age of 18 has one of those symptoms they are encouraged to monitor themselves for 24 hours.

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If symptoms improve, they don’t need to get tested and can return to normal activity, including attending school or participating in sport groups.

Hinshaw says the change to the checklist follows similar ones made in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

She says more than 3,400 children and youth who were tested last week for COVID-19 reported having a sore throat, but more than 700 of them had a sore throat as their only symptom, and less than one per cent of their tests came back positive.

Alberta reported 477 new COVID-19 cases in Thursday’s update and five new deaths.

There are 4,921 active cases with 130 in hospital and 18 in intensive care.

Hinshaw also reminded Albertans to practise cautious social distancing this Halloween weekend.

“Unfortunately, after every holiday during the pandemic, we have seen a rise in the number of cases one to two weeks later,” she said.

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“This weekend, I am asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and be safe.”

Hinshaw said this is not the year for large Halloween parties and noted that Calgary and Edmonton have social gatherings limited to 15 people.

“Eat candy, brush your teeth, watch your favourite scary movie, spend time with your household and your cohorts.”

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