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Thursday , 26 November 2020

New health restrictions for Bonnyville, St. Paul, Smoky Lake areas due to rising COVID cases

A new series of “temporary” and “time-limited” measures have been put in place by the Alberta Government in response to rising COVID-19 cases beginning Friday, which affects Bonnyville, St. Paul, and Smoky Lake who are under “enhanced” status.

This includes no social gatherings inside the home, restaurants and bars cutting off liquor sales by 10:00pm, and mask use encouraged in all indoor workplaces.

“This must be taken seriously…I know they will be hard for many people,” said Premier Jason Kenney during a press conference Thursday.

“This two-week push is I believe our last chance to avoid more restrictive measures that I, and most Albertans, want desperately to avoid.”

Although Kenney said these measures would last two weeks, the Alberta Government website says, “Unless otherwise indicated, measures are in place until we see less stress on our health care system.”

On Thursday, chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 860 new cases and 10 deaths in the past 24 hours. Right now, there are 225 hospitalizations with 51 in ICU.

Provincially, there are outbreaks in 16 hospitals, 50 active continuing care outbreaks.

New restrictions announced Thursday by the provincial government in communities with “enhanced measures” and urban centres.

Saddle Lake last reported an increase of 12 new cases on Wednesday, with a total of 81 active cases.

“I want to be clear that First Nations communities including these two have done a remarkable job in protecting their communities and limiting spread,” said Dr. Hinshaw during a press conference today, in reference to Saddle Lake.

Indigenous Services Canada is warning of possible COVID-19 exposure stemming from two funerals on the nation at the cultural hall on Nov. 4 from 3:00-6:00pm and on Nov. 6 from 11:00am-6:00pm.

The Health Care Centre is working on contacting close contacts.

However, the AHS virus data map does not yet reflect the recent increase, whose case numbers are confirmed through separate health authorities. In the St. Paul-Saddle Lake “local geographic area” there remains 67 active cases with 75 recoveries on the AHS map.

In the Bonnyville area, there are 17 active cases with 33 recoveries. Nine of those are reported in Kehewin, which has nine active cases and 14 recovered.

Cold Lake has six active cases and 33 recoveries, 16 of those recovered on Cold Lake First Nation.

AHS map which shows the Bonnyville, St. Paul, and Smoky Lake areas under enhanced health restrictions.

There is a rise with nine active infections in the Lac La Biche area, with five recoveries.

In the Smoky Lake area, there are six active cases and 16 recoveries.

Vermilion’s local area has eight active infections, with two in the Frog Lake and Two Hills areas, respectively.

Premier Jason Kenney is back self-isolating at home as he was notified as a “close contact” of a COVID case earlier today.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.