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Tuesday , 1 December 2020
St. Paul Boys and Girls Club.

St. Paul & District Boys and Girls Club closed due to 7 positive COVID cases

Seven staff and two children at the St. Paul & District Boys and Girls Club have tested positive for COVID-19.

“The out of school care program remains unaffected as no positives from that program,” said Hazen.

At least 48 children from the baby, toddler, preschool and kinder classrooms are in self-isolation for the next two weeks while the childcare centre is closed.

According to director Joelene Hazen, a staff member started experiencing chest pain and was tested for COVID-19 on Nov. 13.

They were notified of the positive result on Saturday and made the decision to close the daycare and have all the staff tested.

“We haven’t got back all of our tests yet, but so far six staff are positive. Even with the negative result we all still have to self-isolate for two weeks though to make sure,” said Hazen, noting only two of the positive staff members have experienced any symptoms so far.

In an update posted to Facebook on Nov. 16, the Boys and Girls Club said two children have now tested positive.

“Because we are a daycare setting they are still considered close contacts,” said Hazen.

According to Alberta Health Services guidelines, parents and other members of the household do not need to self-isolate for the two week period as long as the child remains symptom-free. If a child tests positive or develops symptoms, the rest of the household must self-isolate.

Hazen said the board had discussed refunds of childcare fees and will be making them available for families who are impacted financially by the closure.

“Refunds are not given but credits will be issued for closure dates once child returns,” Hazen clarified in a message to Lakeland Connect on Nov. 17.

They are also sharing information about the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, which is available through the federal government and provides $500 per week to people who are unable to work because they need to care for a child under 12 while their school, childcare facility, or regular program is closed as a result of COVID-19.

According to Hazen, the staff will do a deep clean of the facility, located on St. Paul’s Main Street, before they re-open. In a Facebook post Nov. 17, the club said they expect to re-open on Dec. 1.

Recoveries rising in Saddle Lake, new cases in other parts of Lakeland

In the St. Paul-Saddle Lake local geographic area on the AHS COVID data map, there are 85 active cases as of Monday with 87 recoveries.

The County of St. Paul, along with the M.D. of Bonnyville, Lac La Biche County, City of Cold Lake, and Smoky Lake are deemed enhanced COVID zones with heavier health restrictions.

A report from Saddle Lake Cree Nation on Monday night said there are now 43 active cases suggesting recoveries are on the rise in the area after several days of new infections. Two were confirmed today after 148 test swabs, and there has been 96 recoveries of 141 total cases.

Nine new COVID positive tests were reported in Cold Lake, twenty active cases total. Three new cases were reported in Lac La Biche with 14 active cases and 5 recovered.

In the Bonnyville area, there were six new infections reported, leaving 24 active cases, 58 total–12 of which reported by Kehewin in their last update on Sunday, which has seen 29 confirmed cases.

Smoky Lake has eight active cases, 17 recovered, three active in Whitefish with 12 recovered.

Within the County of Vermilion River, there are 7 active cases, four active in Frog Lake area and three in the Two Hills County area.

On Monday, Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 860 new cases and 20 deaths related to COVID.

There are over 10,000 active cases in Alberta.

M.D. hopes residents will follow guidelines

The M.D. of Bonnyville is urging residents to follow the health guidelines as infections rise.

Reeve Greg Sawchuk said on The Morning After on Monday that everyone needs to follow the guidelines so there isn’t another shutdown.

“We all have to do our part. And it doesn’t matter which side of the argument you’re on, because there are. There’s a lots of arguments out there. There’s lots of views or opinions that are out there. But I think we all need to take a step back and just respect each other,” he said.

“We want to keep our economy open, there is no way that we can support another shutdown. We’ve got too many people whose livelihoods are kind of hanging right now. And we need to keep things moving. So if we have to put up with some of these little things for a few weeks, then let’s do it.”

With files from Michael Menzies.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.