Five new COVID-19 cases on Friday, four of which are in the far north

(Herald file photo)

The provincial government reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, May 22. Four of the new cases were in the far north and one was reported in the south. The new provincial total is 627 cases reported.

With 521 recoveries and seven cases resulting in deaths so far, 99 cases are considered active.

Twelve more recoveries have been reported.

There are still five people in hospital with illnesses related to COVID-19. Two are receiving inpatient care, with one each in the Saskatoon and Regina, and three people remain in Saskatoon in intensive care. The province is emphasizing that these areas are where the patient is hospitalized, not the regions where they live. Active cases are included in the number for their region of residence.

There are currently 49 cases who are health care workers; however, the source of the infections is not related to their work environments in all instances, 248 of the cases are from the far north, 165 are from the Saskatoon area, 110 are from the north, 76 are from the Regina area, 16 are from the south and 12 are from the central region.

Of the 590 cases in the province: 140 cases are related to travel, 349 are community contacts, which includes mass gatherings, 73 have no known exposures and 65 are under investigation by local public health.

The age breakdown shows 92 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, 223 cases are in the 20-39 age range, 190 are in the 40-59 age range, 104 are in the 60-79 age range and 18 are in the 80-plus range.

The gender breakdown shows 51 per cent of the cases being females and 49 per cent being males.

As of May 22, 42,843 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the province.

Province releases guidance on non-medical cloth masks for the general public

While the primary driver of COVID-19 transmission is by people who are symptomatic, there is evidence that some COVID-19 infected people who never develop symptoms or are not yet sick are able to transmit the virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada now recommends wearing a non-medical cloth mask in community settings (even if you have no symptoms) where physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable, such as on public transit or in grocery stores.

Some guidelines include to avoid touching the mask – if you must adjust it, wash your hands afterward; masks must not be shared with others; put on and take off the mask with clean hands using the ear loops or ties, being careful not to touch your face; non-medical masks or cloth face coverings should be washed after each use; do not use face coverings on children under the age of two and a homemade mask does not replace public health measures that are proven to be effective.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to continue to follow the guidelines to stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing, frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and cover your cough or sneezes with tissues or your sleeve.

The next provincial news conference is scheduled for Monday, May 25.