First 2 deaths from COVID-19 in Sask., 20 new cases
REGINA -- The province of Saskatchewan has reported its first two deaths related to COVID-19.
Both people were in their 70s, the province said in a news release. One death was related to travel and the other is attributed to community transmission. The people were in separate parts of the province, and officials say they died in hospital as a result of "complications related to the COVID-19 virus."
Saskatchewan has 20 new confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, bringing the province's total to 176.
Dr. Saqib Shahab called the deaths a “sad milestone is our province’s fight against COVID-19.”
He said as the province moves along, we will see more hospitalizations and deaths. Shahab said there will also be more recoveries. He also predicts that community cases with decrease as social gatherings are no longer happening.
“Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of two Saskatchewan residents that have now lost their lives to COVID-19,” Premier Scott Moe said on Monday. “I am so sorry for your loss. The thoughts of all Saskatchewan people are with you at this time.”
'Wake up call'
Moe called Monday’s news a “wake up call” to the severity of the situation.
He called on all Saskatchewan people to continue to adhere to the strict rules that allow the province to control the spread of COVID-19.
“We are a long way from being through this yet,” Moe said. “These measures are working, but we have to keep doing them.”
Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili said the deaths are a reminder for people to maintain physical distancing measures, stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings.
“I first want to say to the friends and family of those who have died that our thoughts are with you in this moment of loss," Meili said in a news release. "To the rest of the province, I know that we are all anxious about the impact of COVID-19 on our lives and our families. We will get through this challenging time together, even as we stay apart to slow the spread."
On Saturday, the province announced 30 new cases, followed by another 22 on Sunday. Moe said these higher numbers are not necessarily bad because the province has expanded testing services across the province, working to identify as many cases in Saskatchewan as early as possible.
Premier Moe said there are also over 200 government employees working on contact tracing, or tracking down those with COVID-19 have had contact with.
Five people are currently in hospital. One person is in the ICU in Regina, one is in acute care in the north and three are in acute care in Saskatoon.
Health officials say at least eight cases are the result of community transmission. The rest are related to travel or large gatherings.
Six more people have recovered from the virus, bringing the recovered total to 14 in Saskatchewan.
Five people are under 19 years old, 80 people are between 20 and 44, 62 are between 45 and 64 years old and 29 are older than 65.
The cases are 55 per cent male and 45 per cent female.
Saskatchewan has the second highest testing rate per capita in the country, according to Moe.
There are more than 40 communities in the province with testing locations.
There have been a total of 9,651 COVID-19 tests performed in Regina.