A new year of COVID starts with an unknown curve

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

The M.D. of Lesser Slave River (incl. Slave Lake and Sawridge First Nation) had 17 new COVID cases from December 30 to January 7 (eight days). However, nearby there was much more growth. Westlock County had 70 new cases and Whitecourt had 60. Also, there were two new outbreaks in Westlock. 

As the fifth wave of COVID-19 progresses, the AHS North Zone numbers are rising. However, the exact trajectory is hard to calculate, because the statistics listed on alberta.ca are not all of the positive cases in Alberta.

All COVID-19 numbers reported on alberta.ca come from PCR tests and do not include anyone who tested with only a rapid test. Therefore, the actual number of COVID cases could be much higher than those reported.

Since December 23rd, the Alberta government has asked people without underlying health issues and who do not work in high priority settings to do a rapid test at home instead of going in for a PCR test.

This is to try and keep up with the new cases caused by the Omicron variant.

On December 23, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta chief medical officer of health said, “The transmission trend for Omicron in Alberta continues to be consistent with what other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world are experiencing, with doubling times of just two to three days.”


From December 30 to January 7, the COVID-19 situation (active on Jan. 7) in LSR (incl. Slave Lake and Sawridge First Nation) and its closest neighbours was:

  • LSR – 26 active (17 new & 11 recovered) – one outbreak (Sweetgrass). 
  • Big Lakes County – 30 active (29 new & three recovered) 
  • Westlock County – 85 active (70 new & 21 recovered) – two outbreaks (new)
  • M.D. of Opportunity – 15 active (all new)
  • Woodlands County – six active (three new & one recovered)
  • Whitecourt – 66 active (60  new & nine recovered) 
  • Athabasca County – 42 active (36 new & 13 recovered) 
  • Northern Sunrise County – two active (two new & one recovered).

Rapid COVID tests are available at the Slave Lake COVID test site (the old firehall) and at AHS facilities in neighbouring communities, says https://www.alberta.ca/rapid-testing-at-home.aspx.

The COVID curve for the AHS North Zone since the pandemic started. The top line is total cases. The bottom line is total deaths. The AHS North Zone covers the top half of Alberta from south of Jasper and Cold Lake to the border with the Northwest Territories.
AHS North Zone COVID deaths by age and gender. More men have died than women and more older people than younger people.
AHS North Zone deaths by the month they died. The fourth wave had the most North Zone deaths of any so far.

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