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Government clarifies Bonnyville’s COVID-19 case count change

The Alberta Government’s interactive map highlights in red where confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in the province on Monday morning. 

Alberta Health has shed light on why there was a change of COVID-19 cases in the Bonnyville-area from three to two over the weekend.

The province discovered that the third individual originally listed as being in the Bonnyville-area is currently residing elsewhere in Alberta.

Alberta Health spokesperson, Tom McMillan, explained on Monday that as investigations continue with each COVID-19 case, the location can change on the map when more information comes to light.

“For example, early information indicates a person was residing in one area. So that just gets entered, but further investigation revealed that actually during the time in which they were showing symptoms, they were in a different area,” said McMillan.

“The case total doesn’t change, but an individual who may, for example, have a permanent residence in the Bonnyville-area, that’s what gets thrown into the initial update. But further information says actually, they’re residing right now renting potentially in a different city.

“That doesn’t happen very often. Unfortunately, you saw that on Friday. But we continue to update as we get new information. And the map reflects the new information we have.”

On Friday, the Alberta COVID-19 map showed three cases in the Bonnyville area, but that number updated to two on Saturday.

The most accurate information at the time of each daily announcement is the number of COVID-19 cases, said McMillan.

“For example, sometimes there may be a rise in cases in one zone and the map doesn’t reflect that. It’s because there is just a delay in confirming that information. So we update the map as soon as possible, but the numbers are the best source of data and the map can sometimes have a 24-48 hour delay based on the work that is underlying,” he said.

Regardless of where the cases are, that doesn’t change the risk-level for residents, said McMillan.

“It’s important that people understand these cases, I know we have an extreme amount of interest in them, but the changing on the map does not change the level of risk for individual listeners in your area.”

One hospitalization from North zone

In the interests of patient confidentiality, the province will not release specifics of how each individual case was contracted.

“So while we certainly do tell people the numbers who are hospitalized and the community transmission net provincially, we don’t do it individual town for town,” said McMillan.

On Saturday, the province confirmed 16 cases of the virus were through community transmission and not travel related.

McMillan could confirm that one case of the 18 in the North zone, which extends just north of Edmonton to the provincial border, has required hospitalization.

There are two confirmed cases in the Bonnyville region, one in Cold Lake, and two in the Vermilion River County area.

The province announced on Sunday there were 33 new cases with a total of 259 in Alberta.

Alberta will test for COVID-19 differently starting Monday by prioritizing those most at-risk.

Premier Jason Kenney is set to speak today at 2:00pm while Dr. Deena Hinshaw will provide an update at 3:30pm.

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