March 30 COVID-19 update: five new deaths, one in North zone

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

In addition to the death announced yesterday, today, five people died from COVID-19, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, in March 30th COVID-19 video update. One of today’s deaths was a man in his 30s in the North zone.

Facebook is buzzing with reports of the death of one of the people in the High Prairie health region with COVID-19.

High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk says the source of the information for the Town of High Prairie Facebook post was a family member’s post on Facebook. The person died in Grande Prairie. He wasn’t from the Town of High Prairie, but from within the High Prairie health region.

The South Peace News in High Prairie has published the news, but is still seeking confirmation from the family.

High Prairie region had one of the two first cases in the North zone on March 16th. (see below for all North zone cases by region).

“This has been one of the hardest days yet,” says Dr. Hinshaw.“These (five deaths) are worrying numbers. We must redouble our efforts to protect those who are vulnerable to this virus.”

These five deaths bring the total number of deaths in Alberta to eight, says Hinshaw. All five March 30th deaths were of people who were at risk either because of age or chronic health conditions. Two of the deaths were in long-term care or seniors housing. Of these, one was a woman in her 70s in Calgary, at the facility with the largest outbreak, and the other a man in his 80s in Edmonton. The other two were a woman in her 50s in Calgary and a man in his eighties in Edmonton.

North zone

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.

North zone COVID-19 cases

(only sub-regions near Slave Lake or with confirmed cases are listed. Data is accurate as of March 30 at 4:30 p.m.)

Health Region2930
Peace River88
High Prairie (1st March 16)55
Slave Lake (1st March 20)2 * 2*
Westlock (1st March 25)11
Wabasca00
Athabasca00
City of Grande Prairie22
Grande Prairie County (1st March 24)11
Barrhead22
Bonnyville44
Cold Lake22
Jasper11
Hinton (1st March 23)22
Fort McMurray (2nd March 25)44
Valleyview11
Falher (1st five March 28) (one new)66
High Level (1st Mar. 28)11
Mayerthorpe (1st March 28) (one new)22
Total North zone4444**

*The interactive map on covid19stats.alberta.ca has a running tally of cases of COVID-19, says John Muir, Alberta Government Communications Director, Communications and Public Engagement, on March 28. The decrease from two to three could mean: the location was entered incorrectly to begin with, that the person is no longer in that health region, or something else. It does not mean that someone has recover. If one of the people in Slave Lake recovered from COVID-19, this would not change the number.

The above answer is very useful, but just in case more information can be gleaned on the subject the Leader and the Town of Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman have made some calls for clarification.

Whether it’s two, three or many more, says mayor Warman, the numbers don’t change the recommendations. All people can do is “wait and see. Keep doing what we’re doing.”

“People are going to face the fact that this is going to be here for a long time,” says M.D. of Lesser Slave River Reeve Murray Kerik. “It’s a strange way to be, but there’s really nothing we can do. If everyone calms down, it’s not that bad.”

**There are 45 reported cases in the North zone, but only 44 on the map. Across the province five cases are missing from the map. It is likely one of these is in the North zone.

Alberta

Across Alberta, there have been 690 cases to date, with 45 of these in the North zone. These are the same North zone numbers as yesterday.

This is 29 more people than yesterday, said Dr. Hinshaw. However, this lower number reflects several factors. The most important is that travellers are not being tested. The focus is on testing the venerable population, which is showing symptoms. This change is to conserve the limited number tests. The other factor is there were some issues at the lab, so less tests were done on March 30th. By the end of this week, the new trends based on the new testing protocols should be apparent.

Since March 6, 94 people have recovered, said Dr. Hinshaw.

The government of Alberta has changed its requirements for anyone in mandatory self-isolation to comply with the federal requirements, said Dr. Hinshaw. This means that people in self-isolation may no longer go for walks. They must remain on their property – either in their home, apartment, deck, veranda or yard.

Quick facts from the Alberta government

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practice 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.

Related articles:

‘March 29 COVID-19 update: 73 recovered, three deaths’

‘Local schools working toward providing education at home’

‘Slave Lake Family Care Clinic makes changes in response to COVID-19’

‘Province backs off on changing the way doctors are paid’

‘‘Flattening the curve’ in AHS North Zone’

Things to do while social distancing – Kids’ Letters – call out

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