Starland County and the Viking jump to top of list of active COVID-19 cases as numbers rise in central Alberta

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Central Alberta has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over the past month, from low single digits in early July to 252 active cases on Friday.The Central Health Zone, which includes the communities of Two Hills, Red Deer, and Rocky Mountain House, has also seen outbreaks concentrated over the past week in two “local geographic areas” (or LGAs) in particular.

There are 132 LGAs in the province, areas designated by Alberta Health as smaller areas of its larger health zones. On Friday, Starland County / Drumheller and Viking top the list province-wide.

In Drumheller and Starland County, active cases rose from 19 on July 29 to 71 on July 30. This number puts the region at the top of Alberta’s list of active cases by health area.

More than 50 cases were identified in Starland County alone on Thursday.

At number two is the town of Viking, located northeast of Red Deer. The numbers for this community – listed as seven active cases on July 27 – climbed to 69 on July 30.


Two outbreaks are currently listed by Alberta Health in the central area – at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Center and at the Waskasoo Kiwanis Towers, also in Red Deer. None, however, are currently listed in Starland / Drumheller and Viking County.

Tom McMillan, a spokesperson for Alberta Health, said that in all cases, health officials conduct contact tracing and anyone at risk of exposure is contacted, isolated and tested.

“We cannot comment on specific cases due to patient confidentiality. The cases are largely linked to known contacts and gatherings, ”McMillan said in an email. “Alberta health officials are in contact with Alberta health services and local partners and are monitoring the situation closely. “

Viking

The town of Viking, located southeast of Edmonton, has 1,083 residents, according to the 2016 census.

It is part of the Beaver County Municipal District, which is currently under a “surveillance” designation by Alberta Health, which means the area has exceeded 50 active cases per 100,000 population.

With 71 active cases in the region out of a population of 10,191, it is considered to have an active case rate of 696 for a population of 100,000.

Prabhleen Kaur, who works at the Viking Lamplighter Motel, said she hopes the virus does not spread further.

“People who work in the hospital are particularly [anxious], “Kaur said. They just don’t want to spread it any further. ”

Starland County

The Starland County Municipal District is located just north of Drumheller and includes the villages of Morrin, Delia and Munson, among other hamlets and towns.

With 63 cases out of a population of 1,928 inhabitants, the district is listed as a “surveillance” zone, with a striking active case rate of 3,268 per 100,000 inhabitants.

At Morrin Foods general store, employee Nora Taylor said the village is home to a number of older people, but also a number of middle-aged families and young people.

“You know, we’re very, very careful. We use masks, gloves, and wash our hands, ”Taylor said.

Just east of Morrin is the village of Delia, population 216. The mayor of this community, David Sisley, said the community has followed all protocols dictated by the province.

“We haven’t had any cases here. As far as the county is concerned, it’s such a large area that we don’t really know what’s going on in other areas unless they tell us, ”Sisley said.

“I think everyone is more or less eager to get it over with. “

Drumheller

The town of Drumheller was under surveillance on July 30, but it was demoted to “open” status on July 31.

There are currently eight active cases in the community, which means that it currently has an active case rate of 88.8 for a population of 100,000.

Alberta reported another death from COVID-19 on Friday and 127 new cases of the illness. McMillan said it was important to remember that the virus is still with us.

“The best way to protect yourself is to practice physical distancing, wash your hands, stay home when sick and follow all other available public health guidelines,” he said. “This is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family, friends and neighbors. “

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