SL Lodge COVID outbreak and four in nearby municipalities

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

The week of January 8 to 14, there were new COVID-19 outbreaks at Vanderwell Heritage Place (aka. the Lodge) in Slave Lake, Westlock acute care, and Extendicare Athabasca. Westlock Continuing Care and Smithfield Lodge (in Westlock) were already on the list. However, an outbreak at another Slave Lake seniors facility – Sweetgrass Optima Living was removed on January 11. 

New cases

As of Friday, January 14, the M.D. of Lesser Slave River (inc. Town of Slave Lake and Sawridge First Nations) was up to 65 active cases. At the end of December, it had only 20. 

Some of Lesser Slave River (LSR)’s neighbouring municipalities had more cases. Whitecourt had the most (131). 

The number of active cases could be higher as only certain people can be tested for COVID. On January 10, the rules around PCR testing changed. 

“While we have used widespread PCR testing to manage COVID-19 in previous waves, this approach is just not possible with the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health. 

For eligibility see article on Page 6 and 8. 


The week of Jan. 8 to 14, someone from Whitecourt and another from Westlock died from COVID-19. There were three AHS North Zone deaths that week. They were a man and a woman in their 70s and a woman in her 80s. The other one was from the City of Grande Prairie. 


From January 8 to 14, the COVID-19 situation (active on Jan. 14) in LSR (incl. Slave Lake and Sawridge First Nation) and its closest neighbours was:

  • LSR – 65 active (47 new & eight recovered) – one outbreak at the Lodge (new). 
  • Big Lakes County – 65 active (41 new & six recovered) 
  • Westlock County – 108 active (53 new, 29 recovered, & one died) – three outbreaks (one new)
  • M.D. of Opportunity – 96 active (82 new & one recovered)
  • Woodlands County – six active (two new & two recovered)
  • Whitecourt – 131 active (86 new, 20 recovered, & one died) 
  • Athabasca County – 77 active (48 new & 13 recovered) – one outbreak (new)
  • Northern Sunrise County – eight active (eight new & two recovered).
COVID-19 case in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and its closest neighbours as of January 14th. The actual numbers of active cases (blue) could be much higher as this number only reflects the PCR tests, and not rapid tests, or people who haven’t been tested.

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