As Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman has been saying since the pandemic started. The numbers don’t really change anything, so instead of worrying exactly who is infected, just assume everyone is and use the precautions – wash your hands, stay six feet apart, stay home whenever possible, and self-isolate if the public health measures required it.
Keeping this in mind, the North Zone data is interesting. It gives an picture of the spread of COVID-19 in the North Zone.
The North Zone covers the top of half of Alberta, and includes Fort McMurray, High Level, Jasper, Slave Lake, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie and many more communities.
The first reported case in Alberta was confirmed on March 6 in Calgary. On March 16, two confirmed cases were announced in the North Zone – one in Grouard and the other in Cold Lake.
As more and better information is gathered, the story the data tells changes. By the time, this is printed the North Zone will have had cases for over a month.
The data now reflects a case reported on March 12. This shows the time delay in information. This is simply part of the process.
Even at the best of times, testing took up to four days. There have been times within the last month, where the lab was low on a testing agent, so there was a backlog of tests.
Across Alberta, the number of tests which are positive has been at around two per cent, which means 98 per cent of people tested didn’t have the virus.
In the province, there are likely more cases than are reported. This is because some people have the virus but don’t have symptoms and not everyone with symptoms can be tested.
There are scientific reasons for who is tested and when. It is not feasible to test every Albertan every day.
Who is tested changes and evolves. All of these and other factors impact the data.
It is important to keep in mind within the data, that the towns such as Slave Lake and the municipal district are not divided. Only cities such as Grande Prairie are listed separatly from the counties that surround them.
Note: There are 12 hours of data missing from April 9.
Unless otherwise stated, the information in this story is from covid19stats.alberta.ca or the Alberta government’s daily COVID-19 updates. The same goes for the charts, which were generated by the Leader staff.
Keep in mind that no one on Leader staff is a trained statistician. Also, there are many factors to be considered when looking at health data, and that this is merely a picture of what has been gathered and shared by Alberta Health Services.
The goal of this section is to give a picture of what the numbers are showing. Not to draw conclusions.
Region data is based on when cases were announced, which happens after cases are confirmed. All other charts are based on when cases were reported, not when the tests were confirmed.
Report date gives a more accurate long range picture of what is actually happening in the North Zone.