Updated as of 5:50 p.m., Monday, March 23.
The provincial government announced 14 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 between Sunday and Monday, bringing Saskatchewan’s total to 66.
Sixty-five cases are confirmed and one is presumptive.
Two of the cases are in people between the ages of five and 19. The rest are adults.
Sixty-one per cent are male and 39 per cent are female.
To date, the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory has performed 5,269 tests.
On Monday, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said nearly all of the cases are linked to travel and gatherings.
There is currently no evidence of community transmission, although Public Health is still continuing contact investigations.
“We are at a critical point now,” said Shahab, saying Saskatchewan residents seem to be responsibly self-isolating.
“If we can sustain this, we can keep our curve flat.”
Shahab—along with Premier Scott Moe—provided clarification on who can and who shouldn’t go outside, such as going on walks.
“These are unusual times and I think we need to balance the need for physical distancing with the need for human contact,” said Shahab.
He explained that if you haven’t travelled or come in contact with a positive case, you can—and should—step outside to maintain some level of normalcy. However, he said it’s still important to have a two-metre separation between anyone you run into.
Those who are feeling unwell, explained Shahab, “need to have the highest level precautions.”
“We suggest you minimize any going outdoors if you are in close contact or a returning traveller.”
“Use good old fashion Saskatchewan common sense,” emphasized Moe.
Responding to a question about community transmission, Moe said everyone is likely to be exposed to COVID-19 over the next number of months.
The important thing, he said, is that everyone isn’t exposed to it at the same time so the health care system isn’t overwhelmed.
Moe said there likely will be further restrictions coming in terms of border closures and gatherings.
“We are seeing the infection rates increase, not decrease. That means that our work is not yet finished.”
Following the Monday afternoon update, Moe said he would be on a conference call between Canada’s premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Province launches Business Response Team
The provincial government has launched a Business Response Team as a result of the economic challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Trade and Export Development will lead the team, which will work with businesses to identify program supports available both provincially and federally.
“COVID-19 has caused significant economic hardships for businesses as we all work together to reduce the spread of this virus,” said Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison.
“We know businesses have questions and this response team will help them navigate this uncertain situation.”
In a COVID-19 update on Monday, Moe said many businesses and groups have reached out with ideas and potential solutions for business challenges as a result of the virus.
The SaskBuilds Single Procurement Service will serve as a central point of contact and co-ordination. You can submit your ideas to email@example.com.
Workers who have had their employment impacted can visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-workers for more information.