Weekly COVID-19: Seniors’ facilities increase precautions in response to community cases

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On Sept. 11, the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Housing authority closed Vanderwell Heritage Place to all visitors and only allowed residents to leave for medical appointments, says a Town of Slave Lake news release. No one in the facility had COVID-19. The closure was a precaution because of active cases in the community. The housing authority planned to reassess the decision on Monday.

On the same day, someone called The Leader to say that Points West Living, the other senior’s communal housing facility in Slave Lake, was only allowing outdoor visits.

Prior to these announcements, both Vanderwell and Points West allowed indoor visits with masks and other health precautions

Lesser Slave

During the week of Sept. 4 to 11, the number of active cases in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River fluctuated.

Over the Labour Day weekend (Sept. 4 to Sept. 7), the M.D. had four new COVID-19 cases, which brought the total to six. However, on Sept. 11, two of the active cases recovered, so Lesser Slave had 11 cases – four active and seven recovered.

Any cases in towns, First Nations and Metis Settlements with populations under 10,000 are included within the municipal district (M.D.) or county, so the Lesser Slave cases could be in the M.D., Town of Slave Lake, Smith, Hondo, Chisholm, Flatbush, Marten Beach, Wagner, Widewater, Canyon Creek, Sawridge First Nation, or Assineau.


Lesser Slave River shares a border with six municipalities. Over the week, several people recovered in these regions: M.D. of Opportunity (one), Westlock (two, making the total zero active) and Athabasca Counties (four).

Despite these recoveries, there remained active cases in three municipalities: Lesser Slave (four – all new), M.D. of Opportunity (four – three new), and Athabasca County (one). However, Big Lakes, Westlock, Woodlands, and Northern Sunrise counties had no active cases.

AHS North Zone – Death

The AHS North Zone is massive. For the purpose of COVID-19 tracking, it includes all communities, municipalities, First Nations, and Metis Settlements from Jasper to Athabasca to Cold Lake to the Northwest Territories border.

During the week of Sept. 4 to 11, three people in the North Zone died from COVID-19. One was announced on Sept. 8. This was a man in his 50s in Fort McMurray. His case of COVID-19 was confirmed on April 12. (It is unclear if he recently died or if his death was just now confirmed as related to COVID-19).

The other two were announced on Sept. 11, these were the 11 and 12 deaths in MacKenzie County. One was a woman in her 50s. The other was a man in his 70s.  

The two people in their 50s who died this week were the first North Zone residents in that age range to die from COVID-19.

As of Sept. 11, there were outbreaks in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and the northwestern Peace Region: MacKenzie County, County of Northern Lights, and Clear Hills County.

As of September 11, there were 1,179 AHS North Zone cases. This zone covers the northern half of Alberta. The majority of people had recovered.

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