Province reports five new deaths due to COVID, outbreak declared in Stanley Mission

The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority’s public health officials announced a COVID-19 outbreak in the community of Stanley Mission on Jan. 4.

The outbreak was connected to an increasing number of confirmed cases which have been linked to private family gatherings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. A contract tracing investigation is currently underway.

Public health officials are advising individuals who were at these events on the dates specified to immediately self-isolate if they have had or currently have any symptoms of COVID-19. They are also advised to call HealthLine 811 or a community health clinic to arrange for assessment and testing.

“All other individuals who are not experiencing symptoms should self-monitor for 14 days from the date of last exposure, it is important to note that individuals may develop symptoms from two to 14 days following exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19,” the release explained.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person but some common symptoms include a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, temperature equal to or over 39 C, feeling feverish, chills, fatigue or weakness, muscle or body aches, now loss of smell or taste, headache, gastrointestinal symptoms and feeling very unwell.

Saskatchewan health officials say five more patients have died after testing positive for COVID-19, with one in the North Central area and the other in the North East. Two patients passed away in Regina, while the other was in the South Central Zone.

All patients were at least 80 years of age. There have now been 165 deaths linked to COVID.

The provincial government says a shipment of vaccines will arrive in Prince Albert this week for eligible health care staff, as well as long term and personal care home residents.

Vaccinations are already underway in Saskatchewan’s Far North. Registered nurse Brittany Favel and her grandfather Jimmy were the first to receive the Moderna vaccination. They both live in Île-à-la-Crosse. Vaccinations also started in La Loche as part of the Far North West zone roll-out.

Saskatchewan has 4,254 doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine. The majority have been administered to healthcare workers in Regina and Saskatoon as part of a pilot project. All participants in Regina and 90 per cent in Saskatoon have already received their first dose.

The province reported 153 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, 14 of which were in the North Central Zone. Regina reported the highest number of new cases with 39, followed by Saskatoon with 33. There are 14 cases still under investigation for residency information.

Eight of the 14 North Central cases are in Prince Albert. Four are in North Central Zone 3 and the remaining two are in North Central Zone 1. Another 11 cases that did not have residency information when originally reported have been assigned to North Central.

There are now 561 active cases in the North Central region. That’s the second highest total in the province. Regina leads the way with 630.

The three far north regions reported a combined 14 cases on Tuesday. The Far North West Zone reported the most with 8, while the remaining six were in the Far North East. There are no new cases in Far North Central.

The Far North East has 347 active cases. That’s the fifth highest total in the province. Far North Central has 17, while the Far North West has 157.

The North East reported five new cases, four of which were in North East Zone 1. The other was in North East Zone 3. There are now 71 active cases in the entire area.

Saskatchewan now has 3,057 active COVID-19 cases. That number has increased slowly since New Year’s Eve, when the province recorded 2,699 active cases.

There are 166 patients in hospital due to the virus. That’s a decrease of 14 since Monday.

–with files from Michael Oleksyn/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter