Regina latest COVID-19 'hot spot', residents asked not to expand household
REGINA -- The province wants residents of Regina to take action to reduce transmission, given a significant recent increase in confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VoC).
Saskatchewan reported 101 new cases of COVID-19 in Regina, in addition to 61 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern and 186 more presumptive cases of variants of concern.
Regina accounts for 90 per cent of confirmed VoC cases in Saskatchewan. The VoC’s in the province include 130 cases of B188.8.131.52, which originated in the United Kingdom, and six cases of B1.351, which originated in South Africa.
The province is recommending Regina and area residents consider not increasing their household bubbles at this time.
During the province’s COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Scott Moe said he would not be implementing new restrictions in Regina, and that gathering sizes under the public health order will continue to allow up to 10 people at a private indoor gathering. Moe encouraged Regina residents to consider what would be safe for their individual households.
“We have faith in the people of the province that they’re going to make the decisions that [are] best suited to their individual and unique circumstance,” Moe said Tuesday.
Dr. Saqib Shahab said Regina’s case numbers were “very concerning” with 21 positive cases per 100,000 residents.
The province will move ahead with loosening restriction for places of worship on Tuesday. Worship services can now host up to 150 people, or 30 percent capacity, whichever is fewer. This adjustment will not be applied to Regina and area, where the limit for worship services will remain at a maximum of 30 people.
The Premier also said the current public health measures will remain until April.
The Mayor of Regina said she is open to all possibilities when it comes to further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
In a press conference of Tuesday afternoon, Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said she and the City's Public Health Officer have been in talks with the province and will follow its recommendations. Masters said the City was advised to offer messaging about how to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Wear a mask when you're at work, wear a mask when you are carpooling to work, wear a mask when you're in the presence of individuals outside of your household bubble," Masters said.
RESIDENTS DISCOURAGED FROM TRAVELLING IN, OUT OF REGINA
The premier encouraged residents of Regina to stay put and said Saskatchewan residents who do not live in Regina are encouraged not to visit the city, or it surrounding communities, at this time.
The province specified that Belle Plaine, Pense, Grand Coulee, Lumsden Beach, Regina Beach, Craven, Lumsden, Edenwold, Pilot Butte, White City, Balgonie, Kronau, Davin, Gray and Riceton are all included in the ‘Regina’ zone.
The Opposition NDP said Premier Moe is sending mixed messages by loosening restrictions while case numbers climb.
“The huge explosion in confirmed and suspected variants of concern in Regina has forced the government to urge people in Regina not to do what they were just told they were allowed,” Health Critic Vicki Mowat said in a news release.