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Thursday , 23 September 2021
Messages hung in the windows of rooms at Extendicare Bonnyville.

Eight deaths now linked to Extendicare Bonnyville outbreak

Update: At publication time Alberta’s COVID-19 map listed 11 deaths within the M.D. of Bonnyville. But on Feb. 23, the map updated to say 10 deaths.

Two additional deaths have been linked to the current COVID-19 outbreak at Extendicare Bonnyville as of Monday.

That means there are now eight deaths linked to the care home and 11 total related to COVID within the M.D. of Bonnyville, as listed on the province’s virus data map.

An Alberta Health spokesperson confirmed the deaths were of a female in her 90s and a female in her 80s.

Extendicare Bonnyville posted an update of the outbreak situation on their website on Sunday.

It said there is currently three active cases among residents.

“We have been in touch with each resident’s family and guardians to offer our sympathies on behalf of everyone in the home who knew and cared for them. Each of these residents are members of our close community, who many of us in Bonnyville have personal connections with,” the update said.

“At this time, three of our residents have active cases. An additional 27 residents’ cases have now been declared resolved, meaning they have tested positive more than 14 days ago and are no longer exhibiting symptoms.

“All residents who consented to vaccination and were eligible have received the full two doses of the vaccine, for a total of 87 per cent of residents now fully vaccinated. Additional residents have received their first dose, and we continue to work with local health officials to schedule their second dose as they become eligible, in line with AHS guidelines,” the update continued.

“We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from our community, including deliveries of cookies, balloons and many other kind gestures shared with us throughout the outbreak. Our care team would also like to thank our health partners for their ongoing collaboration, helping to strengthen our defenses against the virus and clear it from our home as soon as possible.”

Ashmont School closes for K-6

In a letter posted online on Monday afternoon, St. Paul Education said Ashmont School will go to at-home learning for Kindergarten to Grade 6 classes due to positive COVID cases.

This at-home learning will begin Tuesday, February 23 until Friday, February 26.

The school will remain open for classes for Grade 7-12 students.

In a Facebook post, Ashmont School said they were aware of eight positive cases.

“This switch to at-home learning is necessary due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases among elementary students and staff, and also the number of staff who are legally required to self-isolate as close contacts,” the letter said, signed by superintendent Glen Brodziak.

“We are already experiencing a shortage of substitute teachers and support staff and cannot be assured of having enough staff in place to effectively teach all the students and maintain their safety.”

The letter said that if necessary, the at-home learning of K-6 could be extended, or Grade 7-12 classes could move online as well.

Assumption School in Cold Lake is still currently closed for in-person classes due to an outbreak at the school, and between 5-9 positive cases, listed on the province’s school status map.

Lakeland case update

Eight new positive tests were confirmed on Monday in the Lakeland region, which includes four new cases in the City of Cold Lake, three new cases in Smoky Lake County, and one new cases in the County of St. Paul.

There is 31 active cases within the M.D. of Bonnyville and County of St. Paul, respectively.

Thirty-six cases are active within the City of Cold Lake and 13 active within Lac La Biche County.

Smoky Lake County has seen an increase over the past week in active cases. Currently, there is 59 cases active.

County of Vermilion River and Two Hills County has three active cases.

Provincial update

Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said authorities will take this full week to analyze the data before making an announcement on whether Alberta will enter Step 2 of the province’s re-opening plan.

The earliest that further measures could be eased was March 1, next Monday. But Dr. Hinshaw’s comments mean that Step 2 could come a little bit later.

On Monday, there are 273 new cases of the virus after over 6,000 tests.

The positivity rate is currently at 4.5 per cent.

There are 289 variant cases in Alberta, including 282 cases of the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant.

The R value in Alberta was 1.03 (0.98-1.07) from Feb. 15-21.

  • Edmonton Zone: 0.93 (0.84-1.02)
  • Calgary Zone: 0.95 (0.88-1.02)
  • Rest of Alberta: 1.13 (1.06-1.20)

There are 324 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 53 in intensive care.

Sixteen deaths were reported to Alberta Health in past 24 hours, however, 11 of which occurred in December and January, and were just recently discovered to be COVID-related.

The government said other deaths reported in Monday’s COVID update happened on Feb. 8, one on Feb. 13, one on Feb. 16, and two on Feb. 20.

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.