Sask. gets 10 new COVID-19 cases, 10 more recoveries
REGINA -- Saskatchewan announced 10 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new recoveries on Friday.
It’s the highest number of new cases April 8, when the province announced 11 new cases.
One of the new cases is a presumptive positive, while the rest are confirmed.
Of the 341 cases in the province, 57 are considered active. Saskatchewan has recorded 280 recoveries so far.
Health officials say five people are in hospital, including two in the ICU. The other three are receiving acute care.
La Loche outbreak
The far north has the highest number of active cases at 25 cases. Saskatoon has the second-highest number at 13 active cases.
Premier Scott Moe said those case numbers are linked to an "outbreak" situation in La Loche.
“Even though Saskatchewan has successfully reduced the spread of COVID-19, unfortunately, we can expect to experience isolated outbreaks such as this,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.
In the past week, 23 of Saskatchewan’s 28 new COVID-19 cases have been in the north or far north.
To try to curb this increase in casas in the north, Dr. Shahab announced changes to the public health order to restrict all non-essential travel to northern Saskatchewan. Non-essential travel between communities in the north is also not recommended.
Moe said the province is working with northern communities to staff check points that have been set up on all highways leading into northern Saskatchewan to restrict non-essential travel. Friday’s order gives full legal authority for these restrictions to be enforced at any of these checkpoints.
A fire suppression crew stationed in La Loche will be assisting enforcing these new restrictions.
When can I see my friends?
The province saw its largest increase in COVID-19 cases since April 8 on Friday, however Dr. Shahab said Saskatchewan’s curve remains flat despite the outbreak in La Loche.
Many questions were raised on Thursday, following the announcement of the province’s “re-open Saskatchewan” plan, but Dr. Shahab said at the moment the day to day routine for people around Saskatchewan should remain the same.
“On a day to day basis, actually nothing much should change,” said Shahab. “You should still behave exactly as you behaved yesterday, and be conscious that we need to stay at home or close to home as much as possible.”
Health officials say gatherings are still limited to 10 people, but one or two close families or friends can form an “extended household group.”
On Thursday, Dr. Saqib Shahab said people can form "virtual households" to spend time with others in a safe way.
The province says the group needs to stay consistent and people shouldn’t visit different families or friends each day.
Shahab said limiting your contact to the same group of people will make contact tracing easier, should someone you know test positive for COVID-19.
“If for some reason one person was to develop COVID-19, you will all have just 10 contacts to follow up. However, if someone started meeting with 10 random people every day for 14 days, and then developed COVID-19, you will be looking at a situation where there would be 140 contacts to follow up with.”
Health officials also say people should consider if anyone in their household or group has chronic health conditions that may put them at greater risk.
Anyone who is sick should still stay home and people should maintain proper physical distancing whenever possible.
Sask. COVID-19 testing
To date, the province has performed 26,586 COVID-19 tests.
Recently the province’s testing rate has slowed, however Dr. Shahab said the province had a positive test rate of 0.4 per cent between April 13 and 18. Currently Saskatchewan’s overall test positive rate is around 1.3 per cent.
“The test positive rate being low suggests that were are not missing cases,” said Shahab. “Having said that, we also have to understand that with flu season on the way out, a lot of people are not seeking testing because they’re not presenting with fever or cough.”
“We do want to encourage testing with even slight symptoms, a cough or runny nose, just to catch transmission early on.”
The province says 136 cases are related to travel, 145 are from contacts or mass gatherings, 34 have no known exposure and 26 are currently under investigation.
There are 150 cases in Saskatoon, 73 in Regina, 64 in the north, 28 in the far north, 15 in the south and 11 in the central region.
The age ranges are broken down into 26 under 19, 121 between 20 and 39, 117 between 40 and 59, 66 between 60 and 79 and 11 people over the age of 80. The cases are 51 per cent male and 49 per cent female.
There have been four deaths in Saskatchewan related to COVID-19 so far.