Risk of frostbite in southern Alberta as frigid weather moves in

Click to play video: 'Risk of frostbite in southern Alberta as frigid weather moves in: Doctor'
Risk of frostbite in southern Alberta as frigid weather moves in: Doctor
A December deep freeze has set in across southern Alberta and the frigid cold is expected to last for at least the next few days. An extreme cold warning is in place for the Lethbridge region and, as Erik Bay reports, people are being urged to limit their time outside. – Dec 19, 2022

Temperatures dropped in southern Alberta over the weekend and windchill made it feel as cold as -40 degrees at some points on Monday.

According to south zone medical officer of health Dr. Allison Gonsalves, with the current temperatures, frostbite can set in within 30 minutes.

“So far we’ve seen one (case) at the Chinook Regional Hospital, but I expect those numbers may go up with the temperatures being so low,” Gonsalves said.

“It’s really important for individuals to pay attention to the forecast and layer up.

“Right now in Lethbridge and the south zone, we’re really at risk for frostbite.”

Environment Canada is predicting the chilly weather will stick around for most of the week.

Click to play video: 'Supporting the vulnerable as cold weather, snow hits Lethbridge'
Supporting the vulnerable as cold weather, snow hits Lethbridge

Two 24/7 shelters operating on the Blood Tribe are among local groups gathering supplies for the cold snap and are always accepting donations.

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“We do see that need, people coming in regardless of what their situation is… and we try to be prepared for that,” Blood Tribe FCSS office manager Tia Fox said.

Read more: Extreme cold one day, balmy the next: Alberta’s yo-yoing temperatures a literal headache for many

“Making sure that when folks do come in, we have the resources to be able to keep them safe, so winter jackets, boots, hats, toques, mittens, things like that,” said Shaundra Bruvall, Alpha House Society’s communications and program manager.

“The other piece is just building that rapport so that we can bring folks in quickly.”

According to Bruvall, use of the Lethbridge Shelter and Stabilization Centre has fluctuated with the temperatures.

Cold weather last month brought more clients indoors and another bump is already happening.

Click to play video: 'More than 450 people homeless in Lethbridge: report'
More than 450 people homeless in Lethbridge: report

“The numbers of individuals experiencing homelessness in Lethbridge has increased and we’re seeing that corresponding increase in folks who do need access to services,” Bruvall said.

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“With the first cold snap of the year, we were overcapacity and we’re seeing that again now.”

People are advised to limit time outdoors and look out for others.

“If you do see somebody on the street or experiencing homelessness, that you do check on them. Let them know that the shelter is accepting folks,” Bruvall said.

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