COVID Weekly: Hospitalizations down, but cases increase across northern AB

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

In the AHS North Zone, the good news about COVID-19 is that the Slave Lake area still has no active cases and the number of hospitalizations decreased.

Unfortunately, there is also bad news. 

First, including the four new cases on July 3, there have been eight new cases on the west side of Lesser Slave Lake. 

Second, the daily number of active cases has increased. From July 2 to July 9, each day there were between four to eight new North Zone cases. In June, there were some days with no new cases. 

On July 2, there were 38 active cases in the North Zone; by July 8, there were 44. 

The total number of cases increased to 355 – 44 active, 295 recovered, and 16 deaths. The last North Zone death was in late May. 

AHS North Zone COVID-19 curve. In June and July, the curve is rising.

Hospitalization & outbreaks

Each day in June, there were four to five people in the hospital. However, by July 9, there was only one person in the hospital within the North Zone.

Hospitalizations are by hospital location not patient’s residence, so it is possible that North Zone residents were in hospital in Edmonton. Edmonton had 30 of the 50 Albertans in hospital. 

On Tuesday, July 7, Edmonton had five outbreaks including one at Misericordia Community Hospital. 

By Friday, July 10, there were only two.

While not in the North Zone, Edmonton is only a three-hour-drive from Slave Lake and many people travel there for shopping, medical appointments etc.

There is currently one outbreak in the North Zone. This is from family gatherings in La Crete.

The La Crete numbers are within the MacKenzie County numbers. There are currently 13 active cases in MacKenzie County. Since July 1, this region has had 15 new cases. Two of the previous four active cases recovered, leaving 13 active cases.

MacKenzie county has 48 total cases – 13 active and 35 recovered.

Big Lakes/Driftpile

On Friday, July 3, four new cases were announced in Big Lakes County to the west of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. This municipality includes the land around the west basin of Lesser Slave Lake. 

On the same day, the Driftpile First Nation posted a letter on Facebook confirming five cases in the nation. 

As the Alberta health website doesn’t distinguish between counties, First Nations, or some towns, these cases were labeled as Big Lakes.

Over the last week, one person recovered and there were four new cases in Big Lakes County. On July 9, Big Lakes had 47 cases – eight active, 34 recovered, and five deaths. These could be in Big Lakes or Driftpile.

As of July 9, the Driftpile and Big Lakes cases were not classified as an outbreak.

To the west of Big Lakes, the final active case in the M.D. of Smoky River recovered during the week of July 4 to 10.

Active North Zone cases – end of day July 9

Total 44 in eight regions

  • Big Lakes/Driftpile – eight (four new)
  • County of Northern Lights – one (new)
  • Clear Hills County – two (one new)
  • MacKenzie County – 13 (11 new)
  • Grande Prairie County – one (new)
  • M.D. of Bonnyville – two (new in July)
  • Fort McMurray – four 
  • Wood Buffalo – 13

Note: The most recent data available is from the end of the day July 9.

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