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Bonnyville hardest hit in Lakeland region's fourth wave

Town of Bonnyville Mayor discusses spike in COVID cases
This graph depicts the trajectory of COVID cases in the Lakeland between April 30 and Sept. 12. In the M.D. of Bonnyville active cases reached 43 on April 30, dropped to 5 on July 15, then rose to 306 active cases as of Sept. 12. In the City of Cold Lake active cases were at 3 on July 15 and reached 150 as of Sept. 12. In Lac La Biche County there were 63 active cases, 0 by July 15, and 36 as of Sept. 12. The County of St. Paul had a total of 33 on April 30, only 1 on July 15 and as of Sept. 12 the County had reached 113 active cases.

LAKELAND — After dropping from 306 active cases of COVID-19 to 285, the MD of Bonnyville remains with the second highest rate of active cases per capita in Alberta based on numbers released by the province, as of Sept. 14.  

Due to the unprecedented rise in COVID cases, the Town of Bonnyville will be discussing what, if anything can be done to curb the spread of the virus at Tuesday’s council meeting, says the town's mayor, Gene Sobolewski.  

So far, the Town’s administration has returned to previous health protocols that limit office access and have implemented personal protection measures, Sobolewski said. 

“With the high rate of infection that's happening in our district, people just have to be safe and make sure things are sanitized. But hopefully we don't go anywhere near the extent of the shutdowns that we saw prior because as everybody knows, I am very sympathetic to the businesses, and I think we've had some big events in Bonnyville that likely contributed to the rising numbers in the region. Hopefully, we'll kind of slow down on those a little bit, but we have to get back to living again. And how do we do that within the confines of COVID?"  Sobolewski commented. 

Town councillors and staff are very aware of the spike and will begin discussing what should be done next, however, Town administration have not been in contact with AHS with regards to the recent rise in active cases. 

Sobolewski told LakelandToday, “I don't expect them to reach out to me with this particular spike, because if we take a look at the map (COVID cases) are spiking all over Alberta. I am anticipating that they will hopefully start reaching out and having meetings again with the with communities, but that's why we've taken our own initiative to bring in measures to protect our staff.” 

The mayor added that he and his family have made the personal decision to decline invitations to events with large gatherings until COVID numbers flatten. 

Active cases across Lakeland 

Several municipalities within the Lakeland region are similarly experiencing a fourth wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.  

According to data released from the province, the County of St. Paul rates 16th for active cases per capita in the province with 138 current infections. 

The City of Cold Lake has 161 active cases and has the 18th highest rate of active cases per capita in the province. Lac La Biche County only reported 41 active cases, a far different trend than in early May when the municipality had the highest active case rates in the province for a limited period of time.  

Numbers released by AHS confirm that there were 2,952 active cases of COVID-19 across Alberta’s North Zone recorded between Sept. 3 to 9. As of Sept. 9, there were 77 people receiving care for COVID in North Zone hospitals being treated for the virus. Of those individuals, 11 patients are in ICU. Since the beginning of the pandemic 223 individuals have died of complications related COVID in the North Zone.  

In Alberta there are 18,395 active cases, of those 12,102 are COVID-19 variants of concern. There remain 803 people across the province in hospital, of which 198 are in ICU.  

Outbreaks in Lakeland 

As of Sept 10, there are six confirmed outbreaks in Lakeland facilities, according to the Government of Alberta’s website.

North zone outbreaks identified by the province include the Cold Lake Lodge supportive living facility, the Bonnyville District Daycare Centre, the Happy House Daycare in Bonnyville, and in Cold Lake the Play Power Childcare facility. 

Work sites in Lakeland that are currently experiencing an outbreak are Cenovus Foster Creek in Cold Lake and CNRL Primrose and Wolf Lake facilities.  

Lakeland vaccination rates 

In the MD of Bonnyville, 49 per cent of those eligible to receive a vaccine have been immunized with one dose. In Cold Lake that number is 53.2 per cent, with 44.3 percent of those residing within the County of St. Paul vaccinated with one dose.  

Lac La Biche County has reached 50.4 per cent of residents receiving their first jab. 

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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