Far north now accounts for more than half Sask. COVID-19 cases

Dr. Saqib Shahab speaks to media during a COVID-19 update in Regina on Sunday, March 15. -- Screen capture.

Saskatchewan now has a total of 349 cases of COVID-19.

On Saturday, the province saw a rise of another eight cases, seven of the eight new cases are in the far north.

The active case total is 57. More than half (32) of the active cases are from the far north.There was a decrease in active cases in the north over the past day from seven to six. The north region includes Prince Albert.

On Friday following consultation with the Mayor of La Loche and other northern leaders, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer  Dr.  Saqib Shahab signed a Public Health Order restricting all non-critical travel into and out of northern Saskatchewan, specifically the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District.

Dr. Shahab also issued a strong recommendation against non-essential travel between communities within northern Saskatchewan.

The province is continuing to increase testing and contact tracing in the La Loche area and is working closely with community leaders to ensure everyone who is required to do so is able to self-isolate.

There have also been eight  more recoveries in the past day, bringing that total to 288.

Of the 349 cases in the province  138  cases are travelers, 146 are community contacts which includes mass gatherings, 34 have no known exposures and 31 are under investigation by local public health. There are currently four people in hospital in the province.  Two are in intensive care and two are in inpatient care, locations of hospitalizations were not included in government information.

The north reports 65 total cases, 150 of the cases are from the Saskatoon area, 73 are from the Regina area,  15  are from the south, 11  are from the central region and 35 are from the far north.

The age breakdown shows 29 cases in  the 19 years of age and under while the rest are adults. The 20-39-year-old age range has 125 cases, 118 cases are in the 40-59-year-old age range and 66 cases are in the 60-79-year-old age range and 11 are in the 80-year-old and over range ; 51 per cent of the cases are males and 49 per cent are females.

There have been no additional deaths reported as of Saturday and the provincial total remains at four. To date, 27,232 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the province.  As of April 22 when other provincial and national numbers are available from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Saskatchewan’s per capita rate was 20,864 people tested per million population and exceeds the national rate of 16,497 people tested per million population.