Weekly COVID: Rapid testing expands: M.D. recoveries exceed new cases

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Note: The next Leader COVID Weekly update will be on lakesideleader.com on Jan. 1 around 5 p.m. and in the Jan. 6 Leader. The Town of Slave Lake has also been reporting COVID-19 numbers. Regional and other COVID-19 information is available on the Alberta government’s website: alberta.ca.

Slave Lake was one of the first communities in Alberta to be part of a rapid COVID test pilot project.

This project has now expanded to 25 rural hospitals, including Wabasca and Westlock, says a Dec. 17 news release. It is also being used in urban homeless shelters, long-term care, and mobile settings. 

From Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, the number of recovered cases in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River (including the Town of Slave Lake) exceeded the number of new cases. This brought down the number of active cases. 

However, in three of the seven neighbouring municipalities, the reverse was true. Big Lakes County (west), Athabasca County (southeast), and Northern Sunrise County (northwest), had 27 to 36 new cases, and only nine to 20 recoveries. 

Further afield, five people died from COVID-19 in the AHS North Zone. 


On Dec. 18, Lesser Slave and its neighbours had the following active cases (the change in new and recovered cases was from Dec. 12 to 18):

  • Lesser Slave (13 – seven new & 18 recovered) – one school outbreak (two to four cases) C.J. Schurter School (announced two weeks ago).
  • Athabasca County (46 – 36 new & 17 recovered)
  • Northern Sunrise County (31 – 27 new & 20 recovered)
  • Big Lakes County (35 – 30 new & nine recovered)
  • Westlock County (21 – 10 new & 16 recovered) – one continuing care outbreak
  • M.D. of Opportunity (21 – 17 new & eight recovered)
  • Whitecourt (seven – six new & seven recovered) – one school outbreak (two to four cases)
  • Woodlands County (zero)

The Lesser Slave cases could be in the M.D., town of Slave Lake, or neighbouring hamlets (Assineau, Marten Beach, Canyon Creek, Widewater, Wagner, Smith-Hondo, Fawcett Lake, or Flatbush). 

AHS 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.

Five people died from COVID during the week of Dec. 12 to 18. These were  a man in his 60s, a woman in her 70s, two men in their 70s, and a woman 80 or over. They lived in MacKenzie County, City of Grande Prairie, Lac Ste. Anne County, Smoky Lake County, Jasper or Yellowhead County, 

As of Dec. 18, there were 5,800 total North Zone COVID cases – 1,201 active, 4,540 recovered, and 59 deaths). There were 33 people in the hospital. Of whom, five were in ICU.

Built by Leader staff with COVID-19 data from alberta.ca.

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