Woman in her 80s dies from COVID-19 in St. Albert

·3 min read

For the fifth consecutive day, St. Albert has recorded a death from COVID-19, bringing the total up from four on Saturday to nine on Thursday.

A woman in her 80s passed away on Dec. 16 from the outbreak at the Chartwell St. Albert Retirement Residence.

This brings the known deaths at that residence to three. On Tuesday, Chartwell notified families there had been two deaths in the facility as a result of COVID-19 and that the outbreak grew to at least 58 people in one week.

An outbreak was declared at the senior home on Hebert Road on Dec. 8, according to Chartwell's website.

The woman's death was one of 30 reported across the province by Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw, the highest amount of deaths reported in one day since the pandemic began.

“This is a heartbreaking figure,” Hinshaw said.

“If anyone still needs reminding about the seriousness of this virus – the seriousness of the restrictions that are currently in place and the importance of doing everything possible to limit our interactions and break the chains of transmission – this is it.”

Seven hundred ninety Albertans have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

St. Albert recorded 42 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 30 more people recovering. Current active cases in the city sit at 356.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 1,306 cases officially diagnosed in St. Albert with 941 people having recovered.

Alberta saw 1,571 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed overnight. The province completed 19,800 tests with a positivity rate of 7.9 per cent.

There are currently 763 people in the hospital, including 138 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Hinshaw told Albertans on Thursday that they must celebrate the holiday season differently this year to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Holiday gatherings with people outside of your household are not only against the restrictions that are in place, they are also the wrong thing to do right now,” Hinshaw said.

"I want to be clear that the compassionate choice is to follow the rules. It may not seem like a big deal to get together with your extended family or group of friends. If you all feel fine, you may think that there is no risk of catching COVID-19 or passing it on to others. But that is simply wrong."

Hinshaw said there have been many times when people have attended group gatherings when they have had very mild symptoms or were asymptomatic and passed along the virus. As a result, one case has turned into many cases.

"That is how cases rise and outbreaks start. These orders are not recommendations. They are legal restrictions, and for them to be effective we need everyone to do their part. Thank you to all those who are changing plans and finding joy in different ways this year."

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette