The City of Cold Lake marked its first COVID-19 death on May 12.
According to Alberta Health Services data, it was a woman in her 50s who passed away.
As of press time Sunday evening, 2,143 Albertans have died of COVID-19 since March, 2020.
Meanwhile, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the City of Cold Lake, and across the province of Alberta, has begun to decline.
As of Sunday evening, Cold Lake had 77 active cases, down five cases over last week. This means per capita there are about 389 active cases per 100,000 people.
Across Alberta, active cases dropped by 713 on Sunday, with 22,280 being reported across the province.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also declined by 39 to 647, with 186 of those patients in intensive care. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds increased by eight over the previous day.
The Municipal District of Bonnyville had 62 active cases Sunday night, down five cases from last week.
The M.D., as of Sunday, had 253 active cases per 100,000.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the M.D. has reported 11 COVID-19 deaths. Eight of those deaths stemmed from an outbreak at the Extendicare Bonnyville in February.
As of Sunday evening, the County of Lac La Biche had the fourth highest COVID-19 case rate in the province, sitting at 1,564 active cases per 100,000 people.
The county, as of Sunday evening, had 158 active cases.
Alberta Health Services has declared outbreaks at Art Smith Aviation Academy, North Star Elementary School and Cold Lake Middle School, meaning each school has between five and nine cases.
In the M.D. of Bonnyville, an outbreak was declared at Ecole des Beaux-Lacs. A COVID-19 alert was issued for Dr. Bernard Brosseau School and Notre Dame Elementary School, meaning these schools have two to four active cases.
Five schools in the County of Lac La Biche have outbreaks—Ecole Plamondon School, Light of Christ Catholic School, Vera M. Welsh Elementary School, Aurora Middle School, and J.A. Williams High School. There was a COVID-19 alert at Ecole Beausejour.
An outbreak was also declared at the Bonnyville Health Centre, meaning there are two or more COVID-19 cases, indicating that a transmission within the facility had occurred, according to the AHS website.
On Sunday, Alberta reported 1,140 new COVID-19 cases after 11,858 tests were completed, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the province since the start of the pandemic to 218,961.
Over 2 million Albertans vaccinated
The province reported that 45,719 more doses went into the arms of Albertans Sunday.
A total of 2,189,999 doses have been administered in Alberta to date and 328,414 residents have received both doses.
As of now, 41.6 per cent of Alberta’s population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 7.3 per cent are fully immunized.
On Sunday Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted: “We’ve made excellent progress over the last week with vaccinations. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to schedule your vaccine appointment by visiting alberta.ca/vaccine.”
There were three new deaths in the province Sunday, an 80-year-old male from Calgary and two 70-year-old males from Edmonton. The total number of deaths in Alberta from COVID-19 is 2,143.
“My deepest sympathies to the friends and families of these individuals and to all those mourning a lost loved one,” said Hinshaw in a tweet.
A rodeo was held Saturday after receiving an exemption from ongoing health restrictions from Alberta Health. The event was hosted by the Alberta High School Rodeo Association in Ponoka.
The exception granted by Alberta Health required the rodeo to comply with the strict restrictions, such as limiting attendance to venue staff and rodeo participants, judges and personnel.
Calgary police arrested Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston on Saturday for attending an illegal public gathering. This comes a day after Alberta Health Services obtained a restraining order against Johnston for, among other things, threatening to harm AHS employees.
GraceLife Church of Edmonton has continued to hold services at unknown locations despite having its building shut down by AHS amid stronger enforcement of public health measures.
AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson said the department is aware of the videos of Pastor James Coates giving sermons but can only investigate if it has an address or location of the services.
Contact tracing overwhelmed: NDP
Meanwhile, the Alberta NDP released an internal Alberta Health Services memo on May 13 showing contact tracing efforts are being pulled back, including for variants and outbreaks.
The memo says contact tracing for many workplaces will fall to employers, and that individuals, schools and daycares will be notified of variant cases. It says AHS will still investigate “high-risk” workplaces.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley said she’s “extremely troubled” by the memo, alleging contact tracers are overwhelmed and Alberta’s high infections shows Premier Jason Kenney has “failed to learn from his mistakes.”
Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of AHS, said at a May 13 news conference they are actively recruiting but AHS has 2,500 contact tracers — which is up from 1,250 in January and 50 before the pandemic began. Alberta’s contact tracing system was heavily taxed amid rising cases last fall, prompting a hiring surge.
But Yiu acknowledged AHS stopped notifying employers about positive cases at the end of April to focus on reaching those who test positive within 24 hours. Employees with COVID-19 are expected to tell their bosses themselves.
Contact tracing is the “shared responsibility” of all Albertans, she said. AHS has online contact tracing tools.
Yiu said AHS prioritizes “high-risk” workplaces for outbreak investigations — including long-term care, corrections, shelters, work camps, food processing plants, warehouses and manufacturing — but all close contacts will still be told to isolate.
Multiple cases in any workplace will trigger an investigation, she said.
— With files from Jason Herring, Dylan Short, Lauren Boothby, Nathan Martin