REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is recommending new precautions for Moose Jaw area residents due to increased community transmission of COVID-19 variants.

As of Saturday, the province said it has detected 80 variants of concern in the South Central zone, which includes Moose Jaw.

"Variants of concern (VoC) are beginning to rise across southern Saskatchewan, particularly in the Moose Jaw area," the province said in a release.

While the mode of transmission and symptoms for variants are similar to the original COVID-19 strain, the SHA said variants of concern are 36 to 70 per cent more transmissible, in a release Saturday.

The SHA listed several new health recommendations for Moose Jaw area residents, including:

  • Only gathering indoors with your immediate household. For those over the age of 50, consider not increasing your household bubble
  • Limiting travel and shopping to essentials only.Opt for take-out and curbside pick up options
  • Staying home if you have mild symptoms, or if you have been in contact with someone with mild symptoms
  • Getting tested if symptoms develop or if you have been exposed to someone with symptoms.

"COVID-19 is transmitted through coughing and sneezing (droplet transmission), and by touching surfaces with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands," the SHA said, in a release.