Sask. confident in reopen plan as cases, hospitalizations remain low
REGINA -- Despite 98 active cases, the province remains confident moving further into the reopen plan with Phase 4.2 starting on Monday.
The majority of cases, 88 per cent, are connected to two areas of the province where outbreaks have been declared, the far North and south regions.
"Outside of those two local outbreaks, there are now just 12 active cases in the rest of the province," Premier Scott Moe said.
More than three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan has avoided large hospitalization numbers that would overwhelm the province’s health system.
As of Thursday, there are currently nine people in hospital — seven receiving inpatient care and two in intensive care — battling the virus.
Over the course of the pandemic, 53 people have been admitted to hospital, 18 have needed intensive care and 11 have required ventilation.
"The message here really is that overall, we have been fortunate in having low number of hospitalizations and deaths and part of it was all Saskatchewan residents going well above and beyond the recommendations in March and April," Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.
The Premier says keeping those numbers low requires everyone to continue following the physical distancing guidelines.
"It’s great that things here are getting more or less back to normal, businesses are open, more people are back at work each day… but we still have to keep doing things a little differently," Moe said.
"Physical distancing and good personal hygiene habits are your lifejacket when you’re going about your everyday life."
SASK. LOOKING INTO SEROLOGY TESTING
So far, 759 people in the province have tested positive for COVID-19 and 648 of them have recovered. However, there are potentially more people who had the virus without showing symptoms.
The Roy Romanow Provincial Lab has begun the process of validating serology testing, which can be used to detect antibodies that indicate if a person was perviously exposed.
"You need to do 30-40 tests on patients who have recovered from COVID and are at least three weeks out from symptom onset to validate the tests," Dr. Shahab said.
ANOTHER CASE REMOVED FROM PROVINCIAL TOTAL
One case has been removed from the South region’s total because the person is from another province.
Over the past few weeks, nine cases have been removed from Saskatchewan’s total for the same reason, while six others have been added.
Dr. Shahab says the attribution process can be quite complicated and provinces are working together to make sure cases aren’t counted multiple times.
"They can be a variety of contexts," Dr. Shahab said. "It can be that someone is visiting family here, becomes symptomatic, tests positive and they complete their isolation as a case here.
"It generally means what is your permanent residence, where were you when you got tested and of course, if someone is unwell, they should complete their isolation period where they are."
PROVINCIAL STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED
The province has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks until July 8.
Premier Moe also says he’d be cautious about reopening the Canada-United States border next month with the case numbers continuing to spike south of the border.
Sask. confident in Reopen plan as cases, hospitalizations remain low