Alberta currently has a number of COVID-19 cases and the potentially life-threatening disease has now claimed its youngest victim within the province. Officials have confirmed that Alberta’s youngest COVID-19 death was a father and husband in his 30s. The small Albertan community he lived in is now publicly mourning the loss.
On the Big Lakes County Facebook page, there is a public statement about Shawn Auger.
He was northern Alberta's first COVID-19 death as well as the youngest person in the province to die from the disease. He was in his 30s at the time of his passing.
"Big Lakes County is deeply saddened by the news of our first COVID-19 death. Council and Staff would like to offer their deepest condolences to Shawn Auger’s family and friends,” wrote the Facebook post.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as everyone in the community of Grouard.”
Auger was a beloved husband and the father of three children. He was also well known in the community as he worked as a youth hockey coach.
CBC News confirmed that on March 13, he was diagnosed with COVID-19. The hockey team he coached is now placing hockey sticks on their porches as a sign of solidarity with Auger’s family and friends.
Auger was among five Albertans that were reported to have died on Monday, March 30 due to complications from the disease.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, was the first to announce the five deaths calling it “one of the hardest days yet.”
According to the Government of Alberta, the latest data states that the province has 690 confirmed cases and eight total deaths.
The first death in the province took place almost two weeks ago. The man was from Edmonton and while not much information about his health has been released, he was in his 60s.
In all of Canada, there are 7,708 cases, 89 of which have been fatal.*
Though it was not explicitly stated that Auger had pre-existing medical conditions, Dr. Hinshaw spoke in regards to the most recent deaths, saying: "Although these individuals had risk factors like older age or chronic medical conditions, their lives mattered as much as any of ours."
Shawn Auger's community and loved ones are mourning his passing while medical health professionals are urging the public to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The entire province is being asked to stay inside and social distance in order to flatten the growth curve of the disease.
*This article has been updated.