COVID Weekly: New restrictions in ‘enhanced’ regions, Slave okay for now

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

As of Nov. 13, there are new COVID-19 restrictions in regions with ‘enhanced’ status, says a Nov. 12 Alberta government news release.

On Nov. 13, these did not apply in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River, but did in the M.D. of Opportunity, Westlock County, the Town of Whitecourt, and a total of 16 regions in the AHS North Zone (communities with populations under 10,000 are included in the M.D. or county).

“Regions with at least 10 active cases and a rate of over 50 active cases per 100,000 population are considered above the threshold,” says the Alberta COVID-19 status map. At this time, all regions above the threshold are classified as “enhanced – additional measures in place.” These are in addition to previous COVID-19 restrictions which remain in place throughout Alberta. 

Enhanced region restrictions

In enhanced regions, restrictions include:

  • From Nov. 13 to 27, restaurants etc. that serve alcohol must have last call at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
  • Until further notice: social gatherings limited to 15 people, in regions with enhanced status, funerals and weddings are limited to a maximum of 50 people, “it is commended all faith-based activities limit attendance to one-third capacity per service. Residents should not hold social gatherings within their homes and should not plan social gatherings outside their community. It is recommended employers in office settings implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.”
  • The news release says, “there will also be a two-week ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities in Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer and Lethbridge.”

The news release did not elaborate on what ‘surrounding area’ meant. 

 (The Alberta government’s website has a list of all restrictions).

North Zone deaths

The AHS North Zone covers half of Alberta from south of Jasper, Athabasca, and Cold Lake to the border with the Northwest Territories. Since COVID-19 started there have been cases at various times in 33 of the regions in this area. 

On Nov. 9, 10, and 12, COVID-19 deaths were reported in the AHS North Zone. Six people died – two men in their 80s in Yellowhead County and three men in their eighties and a woman in her seventies in Lac St. Anne. Both have enhanced status.

Across the North Zone as of Nov. 13, there were 2,658 cases – 553 active, 2,065 recovered, and 40 died. Eight COVID patients were in hospital, of whom three were in intensive care.

All AHS North Zone deaths by age and gender. In the last week, six people in the North Zone died from COVID-19. They lived in Yellowhead and Lac St. Anne counties. Before this week, the most recent North Zone COVID death was on Sept. 22 in MacKenzie County. Graphs built by Leader staff with data from the Alberta government’s COVID statistics.

Nearby

From Nov. 3 to 13, nearby cases changed.

As of Nov. 13, active cases in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and neighbours were:

  • Lesser Slave (six – six new & six recovered)
  • Opportunity* (11 – 10 new & 15 recovered) – Calling Lake school outbreak
  • Westlock County* (23 – 29 new & 19 recovered) – three school outbreaks
  • Athabasca County (four – four new & one recovered)
  • Whitecourt* (18 – 16 new & six recovered) – one school outbreak
  • Woodlands County (one)
  • Northern Sunrise County (five – five new & one recovered)
  • Big Lakes County (one – one new).

*means ‘enhanced’.

The AHS North Zone COVID-19 curve – cases (upper) and deaths (lower). In the last week, there was a North Zone record increase of 70 new cases in one day. Six people also died from COVID-19 (in Yellowhead and Lac St. Anne counties).

The next COVID weekly article will be Nov. 20, 2020.

Note: The Town of Slave Lake and the Alberta government usually post numbers on weekdays.

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