COVID-19 is yet to officially hit the province of Alberta. But that hasn't stopped residents from being swept up in the global panic surrounding the disease. COVID-19 stockpiling is happening in Alberta, it seems. And people are getting seriously concerned about shortages of certain supplies. Toilet paper, in particular.
Several residents of Calgary and Edmonton have commented on low stock at Costco stores in recent days.
One Twitter user said, “I went to Edmonton area Costco yesterday and they were out of toilet paper and water. They said they can’t keep up with demand.”
Another, Judy Copithorne, reported “many empty shelves and pallets in the south Calgary Costco and also at Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart. No disinfectant wipes, water, etc.”
Mookie Wilson, of 95.9 CHFM, tweeted “I wish I was kidding, but the hoarding in Calgary has begun. A few Costcos in the city completely SOLD OUT of toilet paper.”
Another Calgarian, Rick Tulsie, said his local Costco was “completely sold out of toilet paper and people were buying water by the flats.”
He added that a worker at Costco had said people were stockpiling due to fears over COVID-19.
Not everyone is panicked.
Some on social media are reporting fully-stocked shelves in Alberta.
Others are suggesting there are other, less frightening, reasons for the shortages.
The Calgary Herald quotes one expert suggesting that people may be overreacting.
Dr Nathan Thakur, medical director at Alberta’s Coleman Healthcare Centres, told the newspaper that there aren’t yet enough cases in Canada “to really warrant an overly cautious approach.”
He added that the best approach for people to take is to “prevent transmission” of the disease.
Some Calgarians on Twitter are speculating that the shortage of supplies is actually explained by rail blockades holding up deliveries.
Mike Yawney, a local Twitter user, said, “my wife spoke to a Costco employee and it’s not hoarding. The rail blockades have prevented the majority of shipments from getting to Calgary. Don’t panic… at least not yet!”
However, there have been shortages linked to COVID-19 reported in other areas of Canada and beyond.
On Wednesday, March 4, Ottawa Public Health urged Canadians not to panic, adding that there is no need to stockpile.
The province’s medical officer of health said on Tuesday, March 3, that it is “just a matter of time” before the virus arrives in the capital, Ontario.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, has said there is a high-risk COVID-19 will spread to the province, the Edmonton Journal reported.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.