Updated for the final time at 7:50 p.m. on May 7.
The provincial government reported 19 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, all of which are in the north or far north.
Health officials reported 12 new cases alone in the La Loche area, and three others in the rest of the far north. The north area, which includes Prince Albert, North Battleford, Meadow Lake and Melfort, reported four new cases. All new cases are the result of community transmission.
Aside from La Loche, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said there was no reason to notify residents about which communities that new cases were located in since all patients were safely self-isolating in their homes and did not pose a threat to the public.
Shahab said some communities may need to take a step back and delay reopening, depending on how the next few weeks play out.
“If there’s an outbreak that has an impact on how people can access other services going forwards, like the reopening, and if they have to be restricted then of course, that information will be made available, not just as part of an outbreak notification,” Shahab told reporters during a media update on Thursday.
“Other measures may have to be put in place again for a limited period of time in a limited geographic area because of an outbreak, but having said that, we really don’t want to see that happening multiple times, and the key to that is with all of us that if we continue to practice physical distancing.”
At this point, Shahab said the province can proceed with the reopening, although if future outbreaks happen like the one in La Loche, businesses may have to temporarily suspend their operations until the number of local cases subsides.
He added that most new cases in La Loche involve young adults.
There are now 196 active COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 138 of which are in the far north and 39 of which are in the north. All new cases have been confirmed.
There are currently no knew cases in the south, east-central or west-central areas of the province. Those areas include the communities of Yorkton, Kindersley, Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Weyburn.
Another 17 people have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 329. There are currently eight COVID-19 patients in hospital, four of which are in intensive care (three in Saskatoon, one in the north). Saskatchewan now has 531 reported cases since the start of the pandemic.