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Province to end mandatory mask policy on July 11

Province to end mandatory mask policy on July 11
The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

All public health measures will end on July 11, Premier Scott Moe said on Sunday, due to the influx of residents getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Sunday, only 69 per cent of residents ages 12 and older had received their first dose, just below the 70 per cent goal the government set before they would end all public health orders. However, Moe said the province expects to hit that goal in the next few days.

“Because we are now so close to that final target, three weeks from today on Sunday July 11, all of the remaining public health orders are going to be lifted,” Moe said in a video posted to his Twitter account. “So no more limits on event sizes and our group gathering sizes, and the province-wide mask order will end.”

“The reason we will be able to do this is because so many of you have done your part,” he added. “You have rolled up your sleeves and gotten vaccinated, and the vaccines are now working.”

Moe said residents can continue to wear masks if they feel safe, but the government would not make it mandatory.

He added that while case numbers and hospitalizations have declined as vaccinations have increased, COVID had not disappeared.

“If you have not yet been vaccinated, you are still at risk, and you should consider being vaccinated as soon as you are able,” he said. “Then, all of us need to do our part and go back and get our second shot just as soon as it’s our turn. But, because so many of you have already done your part, you have gotten your shot, we can safely move forward with reopening and removing the public health orders.”

The province said phase three of the Re-opening Roadmap would begin three weeks after at least 70 per cent of Saskatchewan adults got their first dose. That happened on Saturday.

Province reports one new death in Sunday update

Health officials reported 60 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, along with 76 recoveries and one death in their daily COVID update on Sunday.

A patient in their 70s died in the North West Zone after testing positive for the virus. The province did not release any other details about the case.

Healthcare workers administered 16,084 new vaccine doses on Saturday, 842 of which were in North Central.

Roughly 70 per cent of Saskatchewan adults have received their first dose. More than 288,000 residents are fully vaccinated, including 21,691 in North Central.

North Central reported four new cases and 10 new recoveries on Sunday, bringing the region’s active case total to 71. Two of those new cases were in Prince Albert. Zone 1 and Zone 3 reported one new case each.

There are now 38 active cases in Prince Albert, 27 in Zone 1, and six in Zone 3.

The Far North West reported four new cases and nine recoveries. Another case announced last week without residency information was also assigned to the region. There are now 34 active cases in the Far North West.

The Far North East reported one new case. Another two cases announced last week were also assigned to the region. The Far North East now has 15 active cases.

Far North Central continues to have no active cases.

The North East reported no new cases or recoveries. Their active case total remains unchanged at 19.

As of Sunday, Saskatchewan has 743 active cases. The province has not had fewer than 700 active cases since Oct. 28, 2020.

As of Sunday, there are 79 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 12 receiving intensive care. One of those ICU patients is in North Central.

Saskatchewan has reported an average of 69 new cases per day over the past week. That’s the lowest seven-day average since Oct. 31, 2020.