Six in hospital as Sask. surpasses 100 COVID-19 cases
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan has confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to 104.
Six people are also currently in hospital with COVID-19.
Three hospitalizations are in the Regina area including one person in the intensive care unit (ICU). Another two people are in hospital in Saskatoon including one person currently in the ICU.
The final hospitalization is in the northern region.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said anyone hospitalized in relation to COVID-19 is in isolation and staff and practicing infection protocol.
The province said six cases are a result of community transmission with the rest being travel related. The newest case of community transmission is in the central region.
The rest of the cases are the result of travel outside of Saskatchewan or large events, including a snowmobile rally in northern Saskatchewan on March 14.
"This really substantiates why we have reduced further the limits on large events to 10 from 25. It also reinforces the message that whether it's two people or five people or 10, you really need to keep social distance," Shahab said.
Shahab again stressed the importance of physical distancing and following public health orders to try to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
"Wherever we are in Saskatchewan we need to act and behave like there is community transmission. We will not be able to test every case, many cases will be so mild they may not know that they are sick," he said. "As long as we practice regularly social distancing behaviours, we will minimize as much as can large clusters of outbreaks."
Four of the cases are people 19-years-old and under, 49 cases are in the 20 to 44 age range, 33 are in the 45 to 64 age range, and 18 people above the age of 65 have been affected.
Currently 57 per cent of cases are men while 43 per cent are women.
Three people have recovered from the virus in the province.
As of March 27, 7,580 cases have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory in Regina.
"It's really important that we conserve testing for people that require testing," Shahab said.
Shahab said testing criteria is expanding as more cases of community transmission are confirmed.
"Now that we have seen cases where there is no link to travel, that is exactly why, as of this week we have changed the testing criteria," Shahab said.
He also said mandatory self-isolation after travel may be reducing the need for testing for people coming back into the province.
"That will now give the space to test people as a priority who are healthcare workers, essential workers, people who have not travelled but are over 65, have underlying conditions or even otherwise who have cough and fever and shortness of breath," he said.
The government said more than 255,000 sessions have been completed on its online COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
Protective equipment for health care workers
Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said more orders of protective equipment for frontline health care workers are expected in the coming weeks.
"Across the world and in Canada and Saskatchewan, there are limits on what we're getting because it's being distributed equitably by manufacturers," Livingstone said Friday.
He said the orders are about four to five times above their normal range.
Equipment has been centralized and put under lock and key. The health authority is currently investigating some equipment loss.