COVID Weekly: Two deaths nearby; hospitalizations remain high

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

From January 16 to 22, two people died from COVID-19 in municipalities which border the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. One was a woman 80 or older in Big Lakes County. The other was a man in his 70s in the M.D. of Opportunity. 

In the AHS North Zone, hospitalizations and deaths remained high, but new and active cases decreased. 


Last week, eight people died from COVID-19. Six women died – one in her 50s, two in their 60s, and three 80 or older. Two men died, both in their 70s. They were from Grande Prairie (x3), Big Lakes, Opportunity, M.D. of Bonnyville, County of St. Paul, M.D. of Greenview, and Hinton. 


As of Jan. 22, Lesser Slave River and neighbours active cases were:

  • Lesser Slave – 23 cases (13 new & 18 recovered)
  • Big Lakes – 100 cases (32 new, 86 recovered, & one new death)
  • Westlock County – 13 cases (nine new & 11 recovered)
  • Opportunity – 65 cases (48 new, 42 recovered, & one new death) – two to four cases in Mistassiniy School in Wabasca.
  • Woodlands County – four (two new)
  • Whitecourt – 21 cases (10 new & 14 recovered)
  • Athabasca County – 17 cases (seven new & 17 recovered)
  • Northern Sunrise County – 26 cases (13 new & 44 recovered)

Communities with populations under 10,000 are included within the county or M.D. Therefore, the Lesser Slave cases could be in the Town of Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation, or the M.D. from Assineau to Flatbush.


On January 18, 73 people were in hospital within the AHS North Zone, which covers the northern half of Alberta. At least, four of these people were from First Nations near Lesser Slave Lake. On that date, Loon River First Nation posted on social media that it had two community members in hospital. Whitefish First Nation also posted that it had two. 

Both Loon and Whitefish First Nations are geographically within Northern Sunrise County, which is northwest of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. As of Jan. 20, this region had 36 active cases. 

In general the locations of hospitalizations are not released, so the location of the other 69 are not known. 

Of these 73 people, eight were in intensive care (ICU). 

By Jan. 22, there were 72 people in the hospital (eight in ICU). Over those four days, four people also died within the AHS North Zone. 

Graphs built by Leader staff with COVID-19 statistics from

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