Masks required; Slave Lake up to a record COVID 71 active cases

(Due to the long weekend the weekly article is based on the Thursday, Sept. 2 numbers. There may be new numbers on as of Sept. 3 after 3:30 or 4 p.m.).

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

As of Sept. 2, 2021 (Thursday), there were 71 active cases in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River (which includes the Town of Slave Lake and Sawridge First Nation). This is an all-time high. The previous record for Lesser Slave Lake was on Feb. 5, when Slave Lake had 52 active cases.

New restrictions

As of Sept. 3, “more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospital are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care,” says a Government of Alberta news release.

The news release also announced the following temporary measures:

As of Sept. 4 at 8 a.m.: Masks mandatory across Alberta in “all indoor public spaces and workplaces.” School boards can choose whether masks are required or not. People can be unmasked at workstations or when proper barriers and distancing are maintained. Also, alcohol cannot be served after 10 p.m. at all licensed establishments. 

In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. The province strongly recommends unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.

Working from home is recommended. 

Weekly COVID

With COVID numbers rising on Aug. 31, Vanderwell Heritage Place (aka. the lodge) announced that it would be closed to visitors for at least one week. 


During the six days from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2, five people fron the AHS North Zone died. One was a woman in her 70s from Big Lakes County. Another was from the M.D. of Opportunity. The other three other were one in the M.D. of Peace and two in Lac Ste. Anne County. These were one woman in her 50s, a man and two women in their 70s, and a woman 80 or older.

The COVID-19 cases of the deceased were reported Aug. 17 to 23, basically two weeks before they died. It was also the time when Lesser Slave River cases started to rise (Aug. 13 – four active, Aug. 20. – 16 active, Aug. 27 – 37 active, and Sept. 2 – 71 active).

The AHS North Zone covers the top half of Alberta from south of Jasper, Lac Ste. Anne County and Cold Lake to the border with the Northwest Territories. In total, since the pandemic started in March 2020, 215 people have died from COVID-19 in the AHS North Zone.


From Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 (six days), the COVID-19 situation (active cases on Sept. 2) in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and its closest neighbours was:

Lesser Slave River – 71 active (45 new & 11 recovered)

Big Lakes County – 69 active (37 new, 12 recovered & one died)

Westlock County – 40 active (24 new & seven recovered)

M.D. of Opportunity – 36 active (25 new, five recovered & one died)

Woodlands County – four active (four new & two recovered)

Whitecourt – 45 active (24 new & two recovered) – one outbreak – private gathering (added on Aug. 20).

Athabasca County – 34 active (18 new & three recovered)

Northern Sunrise County – 24 active (12 new & eight recovered).

The Lesser Slave River cases could be in Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation, or the M.D. from Assineau to Smith.


As of Sept. 2, 70 per cent of eligible Albertans (12 years old and older) were fully vaccinated and 78.2 per cent had at least one. The percentage in the Slave Lake AHS local geographic area is lower. On Sept. 2, 51 per cent of eligible residents were fully vaccinated.

Graphs built by Leader staff with data from

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