'Not a farce:' Moe reminds Sask. residents to keep gatherings low
REGINA -- Premier Scott Moe says people should keep gathering sizes low to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, stressing they could face penalties if they don’t comply.
He said on Monday the vast majority of people are obeying the rules, but there have been some instances of individuals going out of bounds.
“We need to be careful,” Moe said during a press conference. “One infected person at the wrong place at the wrong time can turn into dozens of additional cases.”
The warnings come after a house gathering in Saskatoon caused cases to increase in that city.
The province has fined the host for holding the gathering, and has warned the public they could also see penalties if they break the rules. Currently, only a maximum of 30 people can gather indoors and outdoors.
The province has recommended gathering sizes be smaller if there isn’t enough space to maintain a physical distance of two metres.
During the conference, Moe was asked what he thought about people who believe the virus is a hoax.
He said the virus is real.
“It’s not a farce. The virus has spread across the world,” Moe said, latter calling on people to not stigmatize others for whatever reason.
Starting this week, Saskatchewan Health Authority labs will implement pooled testing of asymptomatic swabs.
This will allow labs to test more specimens with fewer testing materials and increase testing output, the SHA said in a news release.
Pool testing lets lab technicians test more swabs at one time. If any of the swabs in the pool come back positive for COVID-19, all samples in the batch will be re-tested before results are released.
As well, SHA will increase the number of GeneXpert tests in the province. It will go from 200 per week to 1,200 per week.
GeneXpert is a molecular testing platform that’s located in more than 20 spaces in the province. They provide more immediate diagnostics on site, increasing capacity and improving turn-around times.