Sask. officials not specifying locations of COVID-19 cases outside of Regina, Saskatoon
REGINA -- Health officials in Saskatchewan aren't specifying which communities have confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of Regina and Saskatoon.
The regions are broken down into far north, north, central (excluding Saskatoon), Saskatoon, south (excluding Regina) and Regina.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says everyone in the province should be following public health orders, whether there are confirmed COVID-19 cases or not.
"If there was a community that had no cases, would that mean that I should not perform physical distancing there? Absolutely not. Does that mean people are free to mix among household? Absolutely not," he said at his daily update on Wednesday. "We cannot rely on test positive numbers by community to dictate our actions."
Shahab added high numbers in Regina and Saskatoon are because of the larger population in those cities.
"It would be a fallacy for us to say a test result dictates risk," Shahab said.
The province says it won't be naming specific communities due to privacy concerns.
"We cannot rely on which communities may have a case today to dictate our actions, or lack of actions, in that community or another community which doesn’t have a case reported," Shahab said. "That would be very dangerous if that changes our behaviour."
The sister of a Battleford woman who died from complications from COVID-19 over the weekend is calling on the province to provide more information on the locations of confirmed cases.
Alice Grove collapsed in her home last Friday and died in Battlefords Union Hospital, according to her family.
Grove's sister, Eleanor Widdowson, says there should be more information on case locations.
“We need to know where the cases are – not just the areas, but the cities and the towns. That’s what I want. I want people to know it’s in their community, not an area,” she told CTV News on Tuesday.
She said she wouldn't have delivered groceries to her sister if she had known if there was a case in North Battleford.
Premier Scott Moe reaffirmed Shahab's directive that people should be acting under the assumption there is COVID-19 in their community.
He also said the province wants to be as transparent as possible when it comes to reporting COVID-19 cases.
"This is a work in progress with respect to being as transparent as we possibly can," Moe said. "We're identifying what other jurisdictions are doing, comparing and contrasting that with what we're doing here in the province, listening to [the media] around transparency and balancing that with trying to protect the privacy of Saskatchewan individuals."
With files from CTV News Saskatoon's Laura Woodward