Weekly COVID: M.D. dips to 32; North Zone tops 1,000 active

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

From Monday, Nov. 30 to Friday, Dec. 4, active COVID cases in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River jumped several times, then dipped on Friday, to 32 active cases. However, this is still 14 more cases than on Sunday, Nov. 29. A few people recovered, so in total there were 19 new Lesser Slave cases this week.

Lesser Slave and all, but one neighbour, are enhanced ‘purple’ zones, with additional measures in place.

Further afield, this week, two women and one man died from COVID-19 in the AHS North Zone. Today, the AHS North Zone topped 1,000 active cases.

On Dec. 2, the Alberta government announced that it planned to start COVID-19 vaccinations sometime in the first three months of 2021.

M.D. cases

Towns, villages, Métis Settlements, and First Nations with populations under 10,000 are included within the county or M.D. Therefore, the Lesser Slave cases could be in the M.D., Town of Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation, or the surrounding hamlets (Assineau, Canyon Creek, Widewater, Wagner, Marten Beach, Smith, Hondo, Flatbush, or Fawcett Lake).

All of these communities are an enhanced ‘purple’ zone, with extra COVID-19 public health measures in place. 

Nearby

On Dec. 4, Lesser Slave (including Slave Lake), and every neighbouring municipality, except Woodlands County, were enhanced (indicated below by *). Northern Sunrise County, north of Lesser Slave, was added to the list on Dec. 4th. The rest were already enhanced. 

In these areas, active cases, on Dec. 4, and new and recovered since Nov. 29 were:

  • Lesser Slave* (32 – 19 new & five recovered) – three schools with one or two cases confirmed by the schools – on Nov. 29 & Nov. 30.
  • Athabasca County* (21 –  eight new & 11 recovered)
  • Westlock County* (19 – 13 new & four recovered) – one outbreak in a long-term care.
  • Northern Sunrise County* (13 – 10 new & one recovered)
  • Big Lakes County* (12 – six new & one recovered)
  • Town of Whitecourt* (eight – five new & six recovered) – one school ‘outbreak’ (two to four cases)
  • M.D. of Opportunity* (seven – three new & seven recovered)
  • Woodlands County (zero).

North Zone

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

On Dec. 4, the number of active COVID cases in this zone topped 1,000. This is a big jump.

For example five weeks earlier on Oct. 30, there were 2,015 North Zone cases – 353 active, 1,627 recovered, and 35 deaths. Of these, three people were in hospital, including two in ICU.

North Zone deaths

The two women who died were from Yellowhead and Barrhead Counties. One was in her 50s and the other in her 70s. The man who died lived in Lac La Biche. He was 80 or older. 

With these deaths, 49 people have died from COVID in the AHS North Zone. In November, 13 people died from COVID-19 in the North Zone. So far, three have died in December.

Before November there was a gap of two months where no one died in the North Zone from COVID-19. 

Starting Dec. 2, the number of deaths on the map of COVID-19 cases by region was two more than reported. Previously, it was off by one. In the past, there have been some irregularities in data, so this is probably more of the same. 

AHS North Zone COVID-19 deaths by age and gender. In total, 49 people have died from COVID-19 in the North Zone since March. Three died in the last week. Graph made by Leader staff with information from the Alberta government’s COVID-19 statistics.

Schools

Three Slave Lake schools have at least one case. This hasn’t changed since Monday, Nov. 30.

C.J. Schurter Elementary School had two active cases, says a Nov. 30 High Prairie School Divisions media release. There was also one case at E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary School.

As of Nov. 29, there was one confirmed case at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy (a Grade 7 to 12 school), says St. Francis’ website.

From Nov. 30 to January 11, all Grade 7 to 12 students in Alberta are doing at-home learning. K to Grade 6 starts this on December 18, which continues to Jan. 11.

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