NDP leader Ryan Meili joined northern municipalities to call for $10 million in direct financial assistance to help fight COVID-19.
Meili was joined by MLAs Doyle Vermette and Buckley Belanger, along with northern mayors.
“Northern leaders are stepping up in a tremendous way to help lead their communities through this challenging time,” said Meili. “The provincial government needs to do its part to help, and that means stepping up with substantial support to ensure Northern communities have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19 and save lives.”
Vermette said northern communities are isolated and dealing with an outbreak while having less service than other parts of the province.
“We need new provincial funding to meet the new challenges residents and businesses in Northern communities are facing as a result of COVID-19,” said Air Ronger Mayor Gordon Stomp.
“The federal government has responded with support for First Nations and the Métis Nation,” said Île-à-la-Crosse Mayor Duane Favel. “Northern communities have been doing their best to respond to COVID-19, but we’re tapped out. We desperately need provincial resources to help respond to our communities’ needs.”
Beauval Mayor Nick Daigneault said, “we’ve worked to provide food and support to our Elders in our community. We need resources from the provincial government so we can continue to partner in the fight against COVID-19.”
The call for help comes as Saskatchewan’s far north region continues to battle an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, even as the number of active cases in the rest of the province continues to fall.
On Thursday the province announced five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 331. That includes one presumptive positive test.
The total number of active cases is 57. Nine more people have recovered, bringing that total to 270.
Of the 57 active cases, 19 are in the far north and 20 in Saskatoon. The remaining 18 cases are from a mix of the north (five), which includes Prince Albert, Central (two), Regina (10) and south (one).
The region with the highest proportion of active cases is the far north, with 19 of its 22 cases considered active.
According to a Facebook post attributed to the Northern Village of La Loche, there are 12 cases in the La Loche/Clearwater River Dene Nation Region. Nine cases are in La Loche and three are on the Dene Nation.
A number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to an oil sands facility north of Fort McMurray, according to a media update released on Saturday, and there is “a potential for community transmission with continued non-essential travel between communities across the border.”
Regional medical health officers have advised against all non-essential travel between Northwest Saskatchewan and Northern Alberta, effective immediately.
The SHA also recommended that all Northern Saskatchewan residents self-isolate for 14 days and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after returning home from Northern Alberta.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, diminished sense of smell, body aches, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Last Thursday Shahab reported that a staff member at a long-term care facility in La Loche had tested positive for COVID-19. A case was also reported in a care home resident.
Province-wide, six people have been hospitalized from COVID-19, an increase of one from yesterday. One person is in intensive care.
Cases tied to community contacts or mass gatherings increased to 142, surpassing travel (136) for the first time in Saskatchewan’s pandemic.
Thirty-three cases have no known exposures and 20 are under investigation by local public health.
- 36 of the cases are health care workers; however, the source of the infections may not be related to health care in all instances.
- 150 of the cases are from the Saskatoon area, 71 from the Regina area, 62 from the north, 15 from the south, 11 from the central region and 22 from the far north.
- 26 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, while the remainder are adults.
- 117 cases are in the 20-39 age range; 113 are in the 40-59 age range; 65 are in the 60-79 age range; and 10 are in the 80-plus range.
- 51 per cent of the cases are males and 49 per cent are females.
- Four deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported to date.
Saskatchewan has conducted 25,872 COVID-19 tests to date.
Case surveillance and testing information, including regional data, is available at Saskatchewan.ca/COVID-19.
If you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact HealthLine 811 or your family physician for advice on whether you should be tested for COVID-19. You can also take the online self-assessment tool at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-self-assessment.