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The SHA announced 14 new cases of COVID-19 at the two colonies in Maple Creek on June 17 and identified two positive cases from the previous week. Travel to and from Alberta has been cited as a possible source of the cases, the SHA said.
The July 8 bulletin from the Hutterian Safety Council, in a paragraph referring to the southern Saskatchewan region, said: “Several Hutterite communities have been infected with COVID-19, many of which are linked to a large funeral a few weeks ago.
On June 10, 10 teens from the Hutterite colony of Spring Valley took a tragic turn on the St. Mary’s River, Alberta, by boat and swimming.
A boat capsized and three teenage girls drowned: cousins Naomi Waldner, Linda Waldner and Martha Waldner. Linda and Martha’s bodies were found within a day, and Naomi’s body was found 40 kilometers downstream a week later.
In the week between the discovery of the first two bodies on June 11 and the discovery of the third, several Alberta media reports say that members of settlements in Saskatchewan have arrived to lend their support to the grieving community.
Spring Valley is a colony of about 100 people located in Cardston Country, south of Lethbridge.
The third body was found on June 19, two days after the outbreak was declared in the Hutterite settlements in Saskatchewan.
On July 4, Alberta Health said an outbreak of cases could be linked to the funerals of the three cousins. At that time, Warner County, just east of Spring Valley, had 39 active cases, enough to place it on high “watch” status.