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2 new COVID-19 cases in Sask., 9 more recoveries
REGINA -- The province is Saskatchewan is reporting two new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
The provincial total now sits at 639 cases.
Health officials say one new case is from the north and the other is in the Saskatoon area.
Sixty-one cases in Saskatchewan are considered active.
Nine more people have recovered from the virus, for a provincial total of 568 recoveries.
“That’s good news as we are now well into phase two of our Re-Open Saskatchewan plan and we are moving toward phase three on June 8,” Premier Scott Moe said at the province’s daily update. “It shows we are able to safely reopen our economy while at the same time we can continue to control the spread of COVID-19.”
However, the premier said people need to remain vigilant, especially after recent deaths and a community outbreak declared in Saskatoon.
This is the 18th day in a row that there have been more new recoveries than new cases.
Moe pointed to no significant outbreaks at long-term care homes in the province for low fatality rates in the province. He pointed to measures in place like limiting staff to one facility and family members only visiting for compassionate reasons.
“I understand the sacrifice that is being made by families that are not visiting their loved ones in long-term care,” Moe said.
There are four people in hospital — three in the ICU in Saskatoon and one in acute care in Regina.
There have been a total of 253 cases from the far north, 168 from the Saskatoon area, 112 from the north, 78 from the Regina area, 16 from the south and 12 from the central region.
Active cases peaked at 209 on May 10, but have been steadily declining throughout May.
“The situation in La Loche continues to improve, as well as in other northern communities,” Moe said.
Active cases have dropped from 156 on May 10 to 46 Thursday. He said he expects to remove travel restrictions to northwestern Saskatchewan next week, all while consulting with community leaders.
The rest of the province sits at 15 active cases.
Of the 639 cases in Saskatchewan, 141 are related to travel, 369 from community contacts, 76 have no known exposure and 53 are under investigation.
There are 94 reported cases in people under 19, 228 cases between 20 and 39, 195 between 40 and 59, 104 between 60 and 79, and 18 over the age of 80. The cases are 52 per cent female and 48 per cent male.
There have been 10 deaths related to COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.
To date, the province has performed 45,869 COVID-19 tests.
PHASE TWO ‘SUCCESSFUL’
Dr. Saqib Shahab said the low case numbers show the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan is going well so far.
“So far, phase two appears to be successful, primarily from lessons learned when essential services were open,” he said.
Phase three begins on June 8, and includes other personal services, restaurants and gyms. Shahab said people need to be safe when going to restaurants, since it will provide a different experience than shopping at a retail store in phase two.
Gathering sizes will increase to 15 people indoors and 30 people outdoors during phase three. Shahab said people should be thoughtful about gathering layout and sharing food at events.
“Phase three is going to be very important for us to maintain a case number low as that happens,” he said.
He also said outdoor recreational activities and play grounds are under consideration for phase four. There isn’t a date for phase four at this time.
PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES REMAIN IN PLACE
On Wednesday, the province extended its state of emergency for another two weeks.
Saskatchewan residents are reminded to continue following public health orders even in areas where case numbers remain low. Gatherings are still capped at a total of 10 people.
Health officials are reminding people to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, practice proper hand hygiene, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and staying home if they’re sick. The declaration of a community-transmitted outbreak in Saskatoon linked to two large family gatherings, reinforces the importance of following public health orders.
SASK. TO CONSIDER CFL HUB CITY
Moe said the possibility of creating a CFL hub city in Regina is something he would be willing to consider in the near future.
“We have not had a direct discussion with respect to what that would look like,” he said. “But we are very hopeful that we would be able to move forward with some type of CFL season here.”
The CFL has considered establishing eastern and western hub cities to host games.