COVID Weekly: Two North Zone deaths; outbreak in Westlock long-term care

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

In November, nine people died from COVID-19 in the AHS North Zone. Of these, three – a man and a woman in their 60s and a man in his 70s – died last week (Nov. 13 to 20). One lived in Fort McMurray and the two in the City of Grande Prairie. In total, 43 people have died from COVID-19 in the North Zone. Prior to Nov. 3, the most recent North Zone death was Sept. 22.

The North Zone covers all of northern Alberta from south of Jasper, Athabasca, and Cold Lake.

AHS North Zone deaths by age and gender. Graphs built by Leader staff with data from Alberta government’s COVID-19 statistics.


The majority of North Zone deaths were seniors, many in seniors’ care facilities.

As of Nov. 20, there was an outbreak in the Westlock Continuing Care Centre. This was one of 19 outbreaks in the AHS North Zone, but the only one in a region bordering the M.D. of Lesser Slave River.

Not all outbreaks were in seniors facilities. There were two in acute care, four in long-term care, three in supportive living, and the rest in other facilities or settings. These were in the Grande Prairie*, Fairview*, Mayerthorpe*, Barrhead, Crooked Creek*, Fort McMurray*, Jasper*, and Fort MacKay*. (* means ‘enhanced’ region with “additional measures in place.” These have “at least 10 active cases and more than 50 active cases per 100,000” people).  

As of Nov. 20, there were outbreaks in 14 North Zone schools. Four were in municipalities which border Lesser Slave:

Westlock* – one ‘watch’ (five or more cases) & one  ‘outbreak’ (two to four)

M.D. of Opportunity (Calling Lake)* – one outbreak.

Whitecourt – one outbreak..

The remainder were in the County* and City* of Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray* M.D. of Greenview*, and M.D. of Peace*.


By Nov. 19, Lesser Slave River and neighbours active cases were:

Lesser Slave (six – one new & one recovered)

Opportunity* (13 – eight new & six recovered)

Westlock County* (20 – 10 new & 15 recovered)

Athabasca County (seven – three new)

Whitecourt* (11 – six new & 14 recovered)

Woodlands County (zero)

Northern Sunrise County (one – four recovered)

Big Lakes County (two – one new).


As of Nov. 20, 18 North Zone regions were ‘enhanced’. The Municipality of Jasper and Hinton were new. Three were nearby: Westlock County, Opportunity, and Whitecourt. The others were M.D. of Fairview, Peace, Greenview, City and County of Grande Prairie, County of St. Paul, M.D. of Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Fort McMurray, Yellowhead County, Lac St. Anne County, and Smoky Lake County.

The AHS North Zone COVID-19 curve, it has been increasing in recent weeks.

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