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Last of active COVID cases clearing

Boyle and Athabasca hospitals both have outbreaks 

ATHABASCA/BARRHEAD/WESTLOCK - All three counties in the Town and Country region are now in single digits when it comes to active COVID-19 cases, but the Athabasca Healthcare Centre, Boyle School, and now the Boyle Healthcare Centre are dealing with outbreaks. 

An outbreak, involving two positive cases of the virus in individuals associated with the facility, was declared at the Boyle Healthcare Centre Feb. 11. As of Alberta Health Services latest update Feb. 19, one death is also associated with this outbreak. It is unclear if this is the single death previously reported in the Athabasca region, or if it is an additional death. 

The outbreaks at the Boyle and Athabasca hospitals account for two-thirds of the outbreaks in acute care facilities in the North Zone. The outbreak declared at the Athabasca facility Jan. 31 has also seen one more person associated with the facility test positive, for a total of three. 

Visitors to both facilities are currently restricted to minimize risk of transmission to and from outside of the hospital. The outbreak status will be lifted 28 days after the last positive case is identified. 

“All at-risk patients on each unit have been tested. Contact tracing for patients and healthcare workers potentially exposed to these individuals is ongoing,” say the Alberta Health Services’ outbreak protocols. 

“All AHS facilities follow rigorous Infection Prevention and Control standards and practices. All healthcare workers are asked to self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure risk using a screening tool before reporting to a site for their shift, and our frontline teams are practicing continuous masking and diligent hand hygiene practices while at work.” 

Boyle School will be reaching the end of its outbreak this week provided no further cases are announced. On Jan. 25, Aspen View Public Schools announced two positive results for COVID-19 at Boyle School. Fifty-three students and seven staff who had close contact with the positive cases were directed to stay home. 

As of Feb. 21, the provincial government’s geospatial map shows the Athabasca region with four active cases — three of them in the Boyle area. There have been 195 total cases and one reported death. In the Barrhead area, there are two active cases, and there have been 57 in all, with two deaths. In the Westlock area, there are two active cases, out of 175 total, and there have been two deaths. 

Provincewide, there are currently 4,758 active cases and there have been 131,063 cases since the pandemic was declared in March. There are 321 people who remain in hospital — 53 of them are in ICU. Alberta’s death count reached 1,827 on Sunday. 


About the Author: Chris Zwick

Athabasca Advocate editor
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