LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- The city of Lethbridge recorded its first COVID-19 deaths on Monday which might come as shocking news for many but little surprise for some frontline workers.

Both of the men who succumbed to the virus were in their eighties, with one  linked to the Blue Sky Lodge.

Chinook Regional Hospital emergency department Dr.Kevin Martin took to Facebook over the weekend sharing his thoughts on the virus.


“I can honestly say it’s time. Time to respect this virus and buckle down again. This work week has been a wake-up call. What we’ve been worried about and preparing for over the last four months has come,” said Martin. “We are on the tipping point where exponential spread will soon follow if we remain cavalier. I highly recommend wearing masks in public places in order to protect each other given the well-documented asymptomatic spread.”

Another emergency department doctor from Chinook Regional Hospital, Dr. Mackey, said “the amount of work that goes into treating a patient with COVID symptoms takes far longer than a patient without COVID symptoms.”

“When someone comes in with COVID-like symptoms such as a fever, cough or runny nose, they have to be isolated, and space is limited," Mackey said. "It takes longer for staff to assess and treat them because of isolation and PPE requirements, and everything in the room needs to be completely washed down afterwards. It all takes more time, which means we are less efficient. Everyone ends up waiting longer. Let’s do our part to limit the spread and keep Alberta open: wash your hands, wear a mask in public places, maintain social distancing, and if you get symptoms, self-isolate and call 811 for advice."

There are about 20 beds in the emergency department that can be used for possible COVID patients.

Alberta Health Services issued this statement “Currently, there are seven COVID-19 positive patients at CRH, two of which are being treated in the Intensive Care Uni The hospital remains open and all services are operational, including the emergency department, surgeries and all inpatient and ambulatory care.”

Currently, the death count in the South Health Zone sits at 16.