Weekly COVID

North Zone COVID curve flat, for now

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

The North Zone curve is almost flat, with even fewer cases than last week. Stage I of Alberta’s COVID-19 relaunch is underway.

On May 13, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced that Stage I of Alberta’s economic relaunch would start as planned on May 14. This means that non-essential retail, some sit-down restaurants, barbers, and some other businesses are allowed to open. This applies to the entire province except Calgary and Brooks, because of their high number of cases.

Slave Lake businesses are opening at different times (See Pages 1, 3, and 19).

On May 15, the province allowed outdoor gatherings of under 50 people provided no food was shared, physical distance was maintained, etc.

The North Zone curve of infections is basically flat. In the days leading up to Stage I of Alberta’s relaunch, the AHS North Zone numbers were down considerably.

As of May 14, Slave Lake was stable at five cases – all recovered. The North Zone had one more case than the week before (228) – 20 active (including three in hospital), 193 recovered, and 15 people have died.

There were several recoveries during the week of May 8 and May 14. This includes the M.D. of Opportunity (Wabasca, Sandy Lake etc.) case and the second of the two Athabasca County cases.

The Opportunity case may or may not have been in a different area.
As of the end of April, Opportunity Reeve Marcel Auger said Wabasca doctors are working with Alberta Health Services to clear up some confusion regarding this case. AHS tracking is based on a person’s residence on their driver’s license. Auger says local doctors are 99 per cent certain that this case is a former Wabasca resident who moved away from the community some time ago and didn’t update their identification, so the person is likely living in a different community.

The process takes some time, so for the time being, the person is still on the interactive map on covid19stats.alberta.ca.

As of May 14, 121 people in Alberta have died from COVID-19: 85 in the Calgary Zone; 15 in the North Zone; 12 in the Edmonton Zone; eight in the South Zone; and one in the Central Zone.

There’s good news for the outbreaks in seniors facilities in McLennan and High Prairie. From May 8 to May 14, these facilities increased by fewer cases than in the past and the majority of people have recovered.

On May 11 and May 12, Big Lakes County decreased by one case each day.
On May 12, it was an active or recovered case. On May 11, it was a death.
Due to privacy restrictions the government was unable to comment specifically on the changes.

In general, a decrease in the number of cases is likely due to a person’s address being corrected, says an Alberta Government communication officer. Locations of cases are based on people’s identification. This can be out of date or entered incorrectly.

A comparison of data from April 30 with data from May 11 suggests that the deceased was a man over 80. On the same day, a death was listed in the M.D. of Peace, northwest of Big Lakes, with the same demographic information. It is possible that this was the same person.

Graph of North Zone cases and deaths created by Leader staff with data from covid19stats.alberta.ca. (Scale is different from previous graphs published).

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