COVID – down here, up next door

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

Editor’s note: Because of the Christmas break and Friday being New Years Day, this COVID weekly is a day early and covers 12 days, instead of the normal seven. Although Dec. 31 New Years Eve is not a holiday as of 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, the Alberta government had not updated the numbers since Dec. 30. Therefore the numbers are based on the ones which were supplied on Dec. 30, which are accurate as of the end of the day on Dec. 29. The next COVID Weekly update will be Friday, January 8, 2021. 

Over Christmas break (12 days), COVID-19 recoveries in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River (including the Town of Slave Lake) outpaced new cases. However, Big Lakes County (including High Prairie) had 96 new cases, but only 41 recoveries. Further afield seven people died from COVID-19, in the AHS North Zone.

“Services in the emergency department at High Prairie Health Complex were closed for 13 hours overnight Dec. 28-29 after a shortage of staff,” says a South Peace News article. 

The South Peace News article also says AHS reported that the High Prairie acute care is not accepting new patients, because of a number of positive COVID-19 individuals associated with the site.

In the article, Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk says, “We need to keep everything going at the hospital. We need to keep working with AHS as much as we can to get more physicians, nurses and other medical professionals.”

North Zone deaths

From Dec. 18 to 29, seven people died in the North Zone, which covers the northern half of Alberta. One woman in her 60s died, one man in his 70s, four women and one man 80 or older died. The closest death (to Slave Lake) was in the City of Grande Prairie. Two people from Jasper died and one person each from Lac Ste. Anne County, Smoky Lake County, County of St. Paul, and Fort McMurray.


On Dec. 30, the Alberta government released the Dec. 29 data. Lesser Slave and its neighbours had the following active cases (change in new and recovered cases from 12 days: Dec. 18 to 29):

  • Lesser Slave (nine – 10 new & 14 recovered) – old – C.J. Schurter School outbreak (two to four cases)
  • Big Lakes County (90 – 96 new & 41 recovered) – new St. Andrew’s School outbreak (two to four cases)
  • M.D. of Opportunity (32 – 28 new & 17 recovered)
  • Athabasca County (25 – 25 new & 46 recovered)
  • Whitecourt (25 – 25 new & seven new) – one old school outbreak (two to four cases)
  • Northern Sunrise County (21 – 22 new & 32 recovered)
  • Westlock County (21 – 23 new & 23 recovered) – one continuing care outbreak
  • Woodlands County (zero)

The Lesser Slave cases could be in the M.D., Slave Lake, Assineau, Marten Beach, Canyon Creek, Widewater, Wagner, Smith-Hondo, Fawcett Lake, or Flatbush.

As of Dec. 30, none of the North Zone COVID-19 deaths were of people who living in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River or Slave Lake. Graphs built by Leader staff with data from the Alberta government’s COVID-19 statistics.

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