Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Rideau Club in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Alberta has recorded its first death from COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Updated: Alberta tops 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over holidays

Red Deer records fourth COVID death, all residents of Point West Living seniors facility

Alberta hit what Premier Jason Kenny called a “tragic milestone” over the holiday season with 1,002 deaths now linked to COVID-19.

Over the last five days, 112 Albertans have died from the virus, including 18 on Christmas Eve, 17 on Christmas Day and 27 on Boxing Day.

Red Deer recorded its fourth death: a woman in her 80s, from COVID on Dec. 22. The woman was a resident of Points West Living seniors facility. All four local deaths have been linked to the facility’s outbreak.

On Monday evening, Points West was on the government’s province-wide list of outbreaks.

Premier Jason Kenney offered his condolences to those who have lost loved ones on Monday.

“This tragic milestone is more than a number or statistic. It represents more than 1,000 mothers, wives, fathers, husbands – empty spaces around the table that can never be filled. Each one means that there is a family that is grieving, a friend who has lost someone they loved, a child who lost their parent, a partner who lost their true love.”

Kenney appealed to Albertans to “double down” on public health measures.

“Let’s prevent as many Albertans as we can from experiencing the same pain and loss that so many already have,” he said in a statement.

Alberta has also seen its first case of the mutated COVID virus, said Alberta Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, in her daily update on Monday. It was brought into the province from someone who had recently arrived from the United Kingdom.

Hinshaw said fortunately the traveller did everything right as far as observing health protocols including self-quarantining when they returned home.

“At this point, there is no evidence there has been any further spread,” she said.

Hinshaw said health officials are closely watching for the variant virus, which early evidence suggests may spread much more easily than the more common form of the virus. Another variant has also recently appeared in South Africa.

Alberta Health Services is recommending that anyone who has been in the United Kingdom or South Africa in the last 14 days get tested.

Health officials have worked with the federal government to get a list of all of the people who have been in those places and will be contacting those in Alberta.

Health officials are also tracking people who were on the same UK flight as the person with the variant, particularly those sitting nearby.

So far, there is no evidence that the vaccine will not be effective on the new variants but scientists are still studying that.

Hinshaw said that the “selfless actions” of Albertans during the holiday season have helped slow the spread of the virus but the health-care system is still under significant pressure.

However, the decline in new cases is partly due to the lower number of people who got tested over the holidays. On Christmas Day, 14,193 tests were done and 914 new cases identified. On Boxing Day, only 459 cases were found out of 6,866 tests. On Sunday, 9,633 tests revealed 917 new cases.

There are 878 people being treated in hospital, including 148 in intensive care.

Just over 6,000 doses of the COVID Pfizer vaccine have been given to health workers so far, she said. The first doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive in Alberta this week.

In the most recent update, Red Deer had 291 active cases of COVID-19. At its peak this month, Red Deer had 434 active cases.

Red Deer County has 84 cases. Sylvan Lake sits with 25 actives cases, Lacombe, 29; Lacombe County at 45; Mountain View County, 34 and Kneehill County, 17.

Clearwater County has 29 active, and Olds, 28.

Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin and the City of Wetaskiwin have 611 active cases combined.



News tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

Contributed photo
Residents urged to participate in survey about Sylvan Lake Animal Control Bylaw

“Having as many people involved as possible, gives us the best shot at the most effective revision.”

Town of Sylvan Lake. File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council approve 2021 budget with no tax increase

Council approved the budget at its regular meeting on Feb. 22

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker is expected to sentence Satnam Singh Sandhu on Friday. Red Deer Advocate file photo
Updated: Sylvan Lake man pleads guilty to manslaughter for strangling wife in 2019

Kulvinder Sandhu was strangled and died in hospital several days later

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin Boys and Girls club Pink Shirt day design focuses on kindness

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Central Alberta man not criminally responsible for killing his father in 2020: judge

Psychiatrist testified Nicholas Johnson was psychotic when he killed his father

The cover of “Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care.” (Submitted)
Ponoka-born author writes history of old mental hospital

“Hometown Asylum: A History and Memoir of Institutional Care” covers 1911 to 1971

Jacqueline Buffalo. (Photo submitted)
TikTok connects Indigenous women during pandemic

Maskwacis influencers share their stories

Todd Hirsch. (Image: screenshot)
ATB vice president gives financial forecast to Ponoka chamber

Predictions for reopening of the economy and recovery outlined

The 24/7 Integrated Response Hub is currently located in the Wetaskiwin Civic Building. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin business owners concerned over 24/7 Integrated Hub’s impact downtown

Downtown businesses have had loss of customers, threats, increased property damage and break-ins.

Most Read