March 24 COVID-19 update

No new cases in Slave Lake; mills open, daycare not reopening

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

For the fourth day in a row, Slave Lake region is holding at three confirmed COVID-19 cases, says the Alberta COVID-19 statistics. All cases were confirmed on March 20th.  

Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman held a Facebook Live town hall on March 24.

The three people are in isolation, he said. Alberta Health Services hasn’t answered his question about these people contracted the virus. However, in other parts of Alberta where there is suspected wide-scale community spread, the provincial government has made an announcement. This hasn’t happened in Slave Lake, so that’s a good sign.

He said no matter how many cases there are in Slave Lake, the message remains the same: stay home, avoid groups, and avoid physical contact.

Be sure to stay social, while remaining physically distance, he continued.

In speaking about how his family is coping, mayor Warman said, “never played so many board games in my life, except for Christmas.”

At this point, the town is not calling a state of emergency. The town council is very familiar with what this means and is monitoring the situation.

In closing, mayor Warman said, “we (the people of Slave Lake) have been through a mountain of stuff, we know how to recover.”

Daycare

Slave Lake daycare isn’t reopening at this point.

All day cares in the province were closed on March 16. On March 22, the Alberta government announced that a few licensed child care centres would reopen to provide child care for core service workers. All others are to remain closed. 

Legacy Childcare in Slave Lake is not been asked to reopen, says Legacy executive-director Abigail Rayne, on March 24. The facility remains closed.  

As of March 22, the government hadn’t closed day homes, but had limited the number to six children, not including the operators’ children.  

Mills

Mayor Warman has been getting lots of questions about the mills.

He’d called them all up, and the log haul is finishing, because it’s spring, not because of COVID-19. This is part of the normal process. The mills are still open and taking social distancing precautions.

North zone

The Slave Lake region is one of many in the AHS North zone. There is one new case in this zone on March 24. This patient is in Grande Prairie County.

The North Zone covers the top half of Alberta. It includes such communities as Cold Lake, Slave Lake, High Prairie, Grande Prairie, Jasper, Fort McMurray, and all the communities north to territories.

The chart below has a subset of health regions in the North zone with the number of cases as of March 24 at 5 p.m.

North zone COVID-19 cases. 

(only sub-regions near Slave Lake or with confirmed cases are listed)

Health Regionnumber of COVID-19 cases
Peace River0
High Prairie (first case March 16)5
Slave Lake (first cases March 20)3
Wabasca0
City of Grande Prairie2
Grande Prairie County (first case March 24)1
Barrhead2
Bonnyville2
Cold Lake1
Jasper2
Hinton (first case March 23)1
Fort McMurray1
Total North zone20

Alberta

The second person has died of COVID-19 in Alberta, says the Alberta chief medical officer’s March 24 COVID-19 update from. She was a woman in her 80s living in continuing care in Calgary. There are other people with COVID-19 in the same facility.

Across Alberta, there were 57 new cases on March 24, bring the total to 358. 

This is the largest increase so far. The second largest was 47 new cases on March 20.

In Alberta, the first confirmed COVID-19 case was on March 6 in Calgary, 18 days ago. The first case in the North zone was in Cold Lake 10 days later.

“Aggressive public health measures continue to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” says the government of Alberta media release. 

Across the province, the majority of cases are still from travel or close contact, says the Alberta COVID-19 statistics.

Social distancing is in place to guard against community spread of the disease.

The number of suspected cases of community spread have been slowly rising, since March 15, when the first five were announced.

As of March 22, there were 24 cases of suspected community spread. As of the 23, this number is 28 (March 24th wasn’t available at time of publishing).

Note: these numbers are based on the 298 case reports which have been filled out, which is less than the total number of cases.

Across the province, 19 patients are hospitalized, seven are in intensive care units (ICU), and one died on March 19, and a second today. Three recovered on March 20. The government is working on a long-term process for reporting recoveries. 

Quick facts from the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services

The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.

This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.

Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

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