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St. Albert records first COVID-19 death

The city disinfected all touch points, including the benches at the Apline pickleball facility on July 7.

A St. Albertan has passed away from COVID-19 and local officials say this is a stark reminder that residents need to continue to be vigilant about the virus.

Last Tuesday Alberta Health (AH) data showed one member of the local community has passed away from the pandemic. It is the first death the city has seen since the pandemic started in mid-March.

AH data shows the city has seen 38 cases in the four months since COVID-19 descended on the province, with 34 recovered, three active cases and one death.

The provincial health authority has issued no additional details on the local death.

Currently in the province there are 676 active cases of COVID-19. A total of 161 people have died.

As of Tuesday, there are 45 people currently hospitalized and 10 in the intensive care unit (ICU). The average age of death from COVID-19 in the province is 83 years.

St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud and Morinville-St. Albert MLA Dale Nally expressed their condolences to the family of the resident who passed away and want to remind residents to wear masks.

“We can't be complacent. We need to practice social distancing. We need to wear face masks when we're in large crowds,” Nally said.

Renaud said this is a reminder to be vigilant.

“This is a really tragic reminder of how deadly serious this virus is, and how important it is to be really vigilant as we reopen.”

Renaud said everyone is feeling tired from following all of the new public health rules and isolation however it is vital to continue to follow the rules to protect those in our community.

“It's less about yourself, but more to keep your friends and family safe, and just do everything you can,” Renaud said.

St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron was not available for comment.

Pickleball player tests positive

Cases in St. Albert have been on the rise over the past couple weeks. The St. Albert Pickleball Club confirmed one of its members, who was not named, tested positive for the virus on July 7.

The member played at the intermediate 3.5 skill level on three consecutive days, including Saturday, June 27, Sunday June 28, and Monday, June 29.

The person played casually on June 27 and 28, and then took part in an organized game on June 29.

It is not known what sessions or times the person participated in, according to a statement posted to the club’s website.

The club advised members to monitor themselves and call 811 or book an online appointment to get tested.

The pickleball club declined to comment on the positive COVID-19 test and referred the Gazette to the City of St. Albert for comment.

The club is notifying all members of the positive case, wrote Denise Isbister, the city’s manager of health and safety.

All high touch points at the Alpine courts, including the benches, were disinfected by the city on July 7.

Once the city became aware, its health and safety team began an investigation into the matter to determine if any further action is required, Isbister wrote.

The city also reached out to Alberta Health Services, which determined no further action was needed.

The incident is an important reminder of COVID-19’s presence in St. Albert, Isbister wrote. "It’s important for everyone to keep each other safe."

Anyone who is sick needs to stay home. When out in public, residents need to maintain a two-metre distance from everyone else outside their household or social circle cohorts.

When playing a sport, do not share equipment with anyone unless they are a member of your household or cohort, Isbister recommended.

Residents are also reminded to wash and sanitize hands frequently, and to cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue to prevent any possible transmission.

Any additional guidelines or signage put in place at the Alpine pickleball facility should be followed by all users.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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