COVID Weekly: Lesser Slave enhanced, but rapid testing coming

Two Slave Lake schools have one COVID case each

Updated Nov. 29, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

From Nov. 23 to 29 (likely continuing to publication) the M.D. of Lesser Slave River was an enhanced ‘purple’ COVID-19 region. This means further health restrictions. On Nov. 29, one case was confirmed in a Slave Lake elementary and a secondary school. However, rapid testing is coming to Slave Lake. 

“A case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in a person from C.J. Schurter School,” says a Nov. 29, High Prairie School Division media release. “The person was contacted by Alberta Health Services as testing positive for COVID-19. The person had limited contact with students and staff at the school.” All close contacts were notified.  

A letter dated the same day from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy, said much the same thing. 

These schools remain open and aren’t listed as an “outbreak: two to four cases.” In municipalities and towns which border Lesser Slave, there were only two school outbreaks – Westlock County and Whitecourt. 

On Nov. 26, the Alberta government announced that Slave Lake is one of five locations in Alberta for a pilot project for rapid COVID-19 testing.

As Lesser Slave is enhanced, there are extra COVID-19 measures in place. When it comes to COVID-19 numbers, towns, First Nations and Métis settlements, with populations under 10,000, are included within the M.D. or county. Therefore, the Lesser Slave active cases could be in the M.D., Town of Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation, Assineau, Canyon Creek, Widewater, Wagner, Marten Beach, Smith, Hondo, Flatbush, or Fawcett Lake.

All enhanced and other provincial measures apply in all of the above areas, regardless where the active cases reside. 

Nearby

On Nov. 29, Lesser Slave, the M.D. of Opportunity, Westlock County, and Athabasca County were all enhanced. In these areas, active cases, on Nov. 29, and new and recovered since Nov. 20 were:

• Lesser Slave (18 – 18 new & six recovered)

• Opportunity (11 – seven new & 10 recovered)

• Westlock County (10 – seven new; 17 recovered & one died) – one school outbreak (two to four cases) & one outbreak

• Athabasca County (24 – 22 new & five recovered)

• Whitecourt (nine – five new & seven recovered) – one school outbreak (two to four cases)

• Woodlands County (zero)

• Northern Sunrise County (four – four new & one recovered)

• Big Lakes County (seven – six new & one recovered).

AHS North Zone – three deaths

Three AHS North Zone deaths were announced last week. One on Monday, Nov. 23, another on Nov. 26, and third on Sunday, Nov. 29.

The North Zone covers the northern half of Alberta from south of Jasper, Athabasca, and Cold Lake to the border with the Northwest Territories.

All three deaths were of people in their eighties. First, a man died from the M.D. of Fairview. Second, a woman died from Lac Ste. Anne County. Third, a man died from Westlock County. In November, 13 people died from COVID-19 in the North Zone.

At the time of these people’s deaths, all three regions were enhanced. Later in the week, the M.D. of Fairview was removed from the enhanced list. 

By Sunday, Nov. 29, there are 19 outbreaks in the AHS North Zone. These included Fairview long-term care and a sports cohort in Fairview. The only outbreak in a community which borders Lesser Slave River was in Westlock long-term care. The remainder were further away – with Crooked Creek the closest.

As of Nov. 29, there were 3,729 AHS North Zone cases – 857 active, 2,829 recovered, and 46 deaths. There were also 28 people in hospitals in the North Zone, of whom two were in an intensive care unit. 

In the North Zone from Nov. 20 to 29, there were 667 (109 on one day) new cases, 471 people recovered, and, as already mentioned, three died. 

Next update

Unless the situation changes drastically, the next COVID-19 update will be Friday, Dec. 4. The Town of Slave Lake and the Alberta government update daily.

Enhanced AHS North Zone regions. Graph made by Leader staff with data from the Alberta government’s COVID-19 statistics.

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