Sask. reports 42 new COVID-19 cases; highest single day rise
REGINA -- Saskatchewan has reported 42 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 923.
This is the highest single day rise in cases since the virus arrived in Saskatchewan.
In a release, the province said of the new cases, 31 are in the south region, six are in the central region, four are in the Saskatoon area and one is in the north.
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NEW CASES IN SOUTH WEST, WEST CENTRAL SASK.
Speaking Thursday, Warren Kaeding, the Saskatchewan Minister of Rural and Remote Health, said the vast majority of new cases are related to a growing outbreak in a number of Hutterite communities in south west and west central Saskatchewan.
Kaeding asked Saskatchewan residents in these areas to continue following all health and safety guidelines.
“We’d all hoped that we were through the most difficult phase of COVID-19, and with everything reopening, no one wants to take a step back, but there is now increased risk in south west and west central Saskatchewan,” Kaeding said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it is taking steps to mitigate risk in these areas, however it has not implemented as strict guidelines as were in place when outbreaks appeared in north west Saskatchewan.
Currently, the government is not planning on ramping up restrictions in the affected areas, but would consider it if cases and transmission continue to escalate.
“We’re going to monitor how this is unfolding,” said Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the SHA. "[We’re] certainly hoping that with some of the limitations we put in place in the southwest that we can go with the current limitations, but we wont preclude that we would take more if we deem them to be necessary.”
The SHA has ramped up their contact tracing in these areas, which helped reveal many of the new cases in the at-risk areas.
“Its not just testing those folks with symptoms, it’s going door to door and doing assessment with aggressive contact tracing,” said Livingstone.
“We learned from our experience up in La Loche, going door to door is much more successful, it allows us to identify cases early on, do aggressive contact tracing, so within 48 hours we have 90 per cent of contacts traced.”
There are currently 114 active cases. Three additional people recovered from the virus for a total of 794.
A total of 11 people are currently in hospital. Nine are in inpatient care, including seven in Saskatoon, one in the south and one in the north. Another two people are in intensive care; one in Saskatoon and one in the south.
Regionally, there are 339 cases in the far north, 204 are from the Saskatoon area, 121 are from the north, 85 are from Regina and 59 are from the central region.
There have been 321 cases in the 20 to 39 age range, 285 in the 40 to 59 age range, 161 in the 60 to 79 age range and 26 in the 80-plus age range; while 130 cases involve people aged 19-years or younger.
A total of 15 people have died from the virus in the province.
INCREASED TRANSMISSION RISK
Risk of COVID-19 transmission has increased in the south west and west central regions of the province, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
In a release, the SHA said it has identified additional people with COVID-19 in these areas, as a result of aggressive contact tracing.
While some of those who tested positive are linked to known trains of transmission, others have no known source of infection.
The SHA said this increased level of COVID-19 activity has increased risk of transmission to the public in these parts of Saskatchewan.
The following rural municipalities and areas have increased risk of transmission for the virus:
- Maple Creek (No. 111)
- Auvergne (No. 76)
- Biggar (No. 347)
- City of Swift Current
- Eagle Creek (No. 376)
- Grandview (No. 349)
- Harris (No. 316)
- Kellross (No. 247)
- Lac Pelletier (No. 107)
- Newcombe (No. 260)
- Perdue (No. 346)
- Pleasant Valley (No. 288)
- Prairiedale (No. 321)
- Tramping Lake (No. 380)
VISITS RESTRICTED FOR CYPRESS REGIONAL HOSPITAL, LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be temporarily restricting visits to the Cypress Regional Hospital, as well as to long-term care homes located in areas where there is higher risk of getting COVID-19.
The SHA said in a news release Thursday that family members or support people will only be permitted to the hospital for compassionate reasons.
It said no other visits will be allowed, and the restrictions will be in place until further notice.