SASKATOON -- A woman who lived on a farm outside of Battleford has been identified as one of Saskatchewan’s first COVID-19 deaths.

Alice Grove collapsed in her home on Friday from a lack of oxygen. She had a high fever and was rushed to Battlefords Union Hospital, according to her family.

The 75-year-old woman died in hospital on Saturday morning.

Grove’s sister, Eleanor Widdowson, believes she contracted the virus at a grocery store or coffee shop in North Battleford – when she would leave the farm for supplies.

Widdowson is remembering her sister as someone who was musically gifted.

“She loved music. She loved playing music. She was able to play the accordion, piano, organ, bagpipes, clarinet. She was very very musical,” she told CTV News.

While Grove didn’t have any children, she loved Widdowson’s kids as though they were her own.

“My children were her children, and my grandkids were her grandkids,” Widdowson said.

Widdowson sat by Grove’s bedside when she died and ultimately made the decision to take her off oxygen.

Two deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in Saskatchewan.

Amidst Widdowson’s grief is anger.

She’s calling on the government to be more transparent about where COVID-19 cases are confirmed.

During past press conferences, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer has refused to disclose specific age, gender or location of cases out of patient privacy.

Widdowson said with more information about case location, people would be better educated – and perhaps more deaths could be avoided.

“We need to know where the cases are – not just the areas, but the cities and the towns. That’s what I want. I want people to know it’s in their community, not an area,” she said

Widdowson said had she known about a case in North Battleford, she would have delivered groceries to her sister.

The Ministry of Health has not confirmed any cases in Battleford or North Battleford, and has only announced cases based on geographical areas.


Nine cases have been confirmed in central Saskatchewan (excluding Saskatoon) and 37 cases are in northern Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon has nearly half of all provincial cases.