Weekly COVID: fewer M.D. active cases; new restrictions still in place

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

Alberta is under new lockdown measures. These are similar, but a bit different than the ones in the spring. The biggest differences are a mask law and that all retail is lumped together. Also, the only health care which is closed is massage. 

Last week, three people died from COVID in the AHS North Zone.

Nearby

On Dec. 11, Lesser Slave (including Slave Lake) and every other region of Alberta were enhanced* (additional measure in place). In these areas (change from Dec. 6 to 11):

  • Lesser Slave* (24 – 11 new & 18 recovered) – one school outbreak (two to four cases) C.J. Schurter School (announced last week).
  • Athabasca County* (27 – 18 new & 15 recovered)
  • Big Lakes County* (14 – six new & seven recovered)
  • Westlock County* (27 – 13 new & eight recovered) – one continuing care outbreak
  • Whitecourt* (eight – three new & three recovered) – one school outbreak (two to four cases)
  • M.D. of Opportunity* (12 – five new & four recovered)
  • Northern Sunrise County* (19 – 12 new & seven recovered)
  • Woodlands County* (zero)

AHS North Zone

On Thursday and Friday last week, three deaths were announced. On Thursday, a man in his 60s from Yellowhead County died from COVID-19. On Friday, two deaths were announced, but three regions increased: Smoky Lake County, Lac La Biche, and the City of Grande Prairie. The deceased likely lived in one of these three regions. Two women died: one in her 60s and one her 70s.

The North Zone covers the northern half of Alberta from south of Jasper, Athabasca, and Cold Lake to the border with the Northwest Territories.

As of Dec. 10, there were 5,077 total North Zone COVID cases – 1,240 active, 3,783 recovered, and 54 deaths. There were 32 people in the hospital. Of whom, five were in ICU.

Hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks.

Restrictions

On Dec. 8, the Alberta government announced a mandatory mask law and a ban on all social gatherings in any setting. Also, starting on Dec. 13, places of worship and retail are limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. Restaurants, recreation, bingo halls, Legions, libraries, museums, hair and nail salons, massage, and a very long list of businesses are to be closed. The library is allowed to do contactless pickup.

A few remain open: these are health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens.

Another measure starting Dec. 13 is that people are required to “work from home measures will be implemented unless the employer determines that work requires a physical presence for operational effectiveness.”

On Dec. 9, the Alberta government announced that it will be the week of Dec. 14 it will begin immunizing critical health-care workers for COVID-19. It anticipates starting to immunize seniors and other target groups in early 2021. (See Dec. 8 update for full list of restrictions).

Graph built by Leader staff with data from alberta.ca COVID-19 statistics.

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