REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority has updated a public service announcement issued Wednesday regarding increase transmission of COVID-19 variants of concern in Southwest Saskatchewan.

The SHA added Outlook, Sask. to the list of communities being “strongly urged to strictly adhere to all current public health order and measures.”

Rosetown, Kindersley, Maple Creek, Swift Current, Davidson, Moose Jaw and all surrounding areas were included in the initial warning.

So far, 21 cases have been linked to several large outdoor gatherings in the area, which failed to comply with public health measures.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said he would not be able to provide any details related to these events as a public health investigation is taking place.

“A Saskatchewan Health Authority Medical Health Officer declared an outbreak regarding an outdoor gathering in southwest Saskatchewan,” Doug Dahl, who works in community engagement and communications for the SHA said. “A contact tracing investigation is underway. As of today, 21 positive cases have been linked to this outbreak, which includes variants of concern. Additional testing is required to identify the specific variant involved.

VoC are highly contagious and quickly transmitted within communities. VoC also result in more severe illnesses and should be considered dangerous, the SHA said.

The SHA said those becoming severely ill have been younger where VoC are concerned.