Third COVID-19 death linked to outbreak at Olymel meatpacking plant in Red Deer

Alberta Health confirmed two more deaths linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Olymel meatpacking plant in Red Deer on Friday, bringing the total to three.

Henry De Leon, 50, who worked at the plant for 15 years, died on Wednesday after spending three weeks on a ventilator, his family told CBC News

The other Olymel outbreak-related death reported by the province on Friday was a woman in her 60s, who died on Sunday.

Alberta Health does not report the identities of people who die of COVID-19. 

The first COVID-19 death linked to the outbreak was Darwin Doloque, 35, who died on Jan. 28

There are 500 cases linked to the outbreak at the Red Deer meatpacking plant, according to the most recent update from Alberta Health. Of those, 156 are considered active.

Alberta reported 356 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and three more deaths from the illness, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the province in a single day since October.

There are 4,505 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, an increase of 21 from the day before.

All three deaths announced Friday were from the Central health zone.

Hospitalizations from the disease continue to decline — there are 269 people being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including 55 in intensive care beds. 

Hospitalizations are a key metric in determining whether the province will choose to ease more restrictions next week.

The province has already met the hospitalization thresholds for both Step 2 and 3, and could choose to move to Step 2 of the phased reopening plan as early as Monday.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the government will also consider leading indicators like R-value, new cases and positivity rate, when deciding to move to the next phase of reopening. 

The regional breakdown of active cases is:

  • Calgary zone: 1,523
  • North zone: 1,016
  • Edmonton zone: 908
  • Central zone: 722
  • South zone: 327
  • Unknown: 9

The province’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has now seen 207,300 doses of vaccine administered. That number includes 82,989  Albertans who are fully immunized with two doses of vaccine. 

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