Mandatory self-isolation after travel now law as Sask. announces 6 more COVID-19 cases
REGINA -- Mandatory self-isolation following international travel is now law in Saskatchewan after the announcement of six more COVID-19 cases on Friday.
Premier Scott Moe announced new measures under the Public Health Act to further reduce the risk of potential COVID-19 transmission.
The six new cases bring Saskatchewan's total to 26. Health officials say 24 of the 26 people are self-isolating at home. Two were admitted to hospital for medical reasons "not related to respiratory illness."
New COVID-19 cases
- A person in their 20s who was tested in Regina after returning from Cabo San Lucas
- A person in their 20s who was tested in Regina after returning from the United States
- A person in their 50s who was tested in Regina after returning from Jordan
- Two people in their 60s who were tested in Prince Albert after returning from Arizona
- A person in their 60s who was tested in Regina
Dr. Saqib Shahab says health officials are still investigating the possible exposure for the final new case announced on Friday.
"If we do not find that in another day or two, then we will have to admit that this could have been community transmission," he said.
Public health officials are contacting anyone who has been in contact with any of the new cases.
Of the province's 26 cases, eight are confirmed and 18 are presumptive positive.
The province has ordered mandatory 14-day self-isolation for anyone who has travelled internationally or has come into contact with someone with COVID-19.
"If we reduce this threat, we will be able to flatten the curve," Moe said.
Moe said mandatory self-isolation is now a law. Anyone not following the directive could be arrested.
"The goal here is full compliance with the orders that Dr. Shahab has recommended," Moe said. "If we're going to flatten the curve these measures need to be taken seriously."
Penalties could include a $2,000 fine for failing to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Saskatchewan.
Moe said anyone concerned about a neighbour or friend who isn't self-isolating after should contact local law enforcement.
An emergency alert sent by the Government of Saskatchewan on March 20, 2020
The Regina Police Service says it is working with the Saskatchewan Public Safety and Public Health to determine the best way to handle enforcement.
"The current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a matter that the Regina Police Service takes very seriously," police said in a news release. "The Regina Police Service acknowledges we have been granted additional authority by the province and we want the public to understand that the goal is compliance. Our top priority is community safety. We echo the province in seeking compliance to self-isolation and social distancing, and we expect that can be achieved through education."
The RCMP also said it is working closely with the province to determine the details of enforcement if necessary.
New limitations on gatherings
The new measures announced Friday include limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people in one room, except when people can maintain two metres between them.
Nightclubs, bars and lounges all need to close. Takeout food and alcohol can be permitted with two metres of distancing between customers and delivery persons.
Premier Scott Moe said there are concerns about people failing to self-isolate for 14 days following international travel.
“I know that the vast majority of Saskatchewan people are taking their personal responsibility seriously and following this order,” he said. “But a few are not. This is not a suggestion. It is not a guideline. It is the law and it must be followed.”
The provincial orders must be followed under the state of emergency, and Moe said law enforcement agencies have the "full authority to enforce those orders."