Shahab and Moe remind people to be vigilant as case numbers rise

The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

The number of positive COVID-19 cases identified in Prince Albert has risen to 22.

That’s according to the latest COVID-19 data from the province, which breaks down the number of active and new cases per sub zone. A list of communities is published for each sub zone. For North Central 2, that’s just Prince Albert. As of Monday, the zone had 22 cases.

The greater North Central Zone, which also includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Shellbrook, Waskesiu, Rosthern and Duck Lake, accounted for 19 of the province’s 48 new cases. The 48 new cases follows 24 cases reported Sunday, 34 cases reported on Saturday and 22 on Friday.

Twelve of Monday’s new cases  were from Prince Albert alone. The North Central region, as a whole, now has 39 active cases.

Other new cases detected Monday include 13 in Saskatoon, five in Regina, three each in the Central East and North West and single cases in Far North West, Central West, North East and South East zones.

Public health investigations are underway to understand the source of exposure for today’s new cases. 

On Sunday it was reported that at least 12 northern cases had links to the Gospel Outreach outbreak in Prince Albert and it is anticipated that several of the positive cases reported Monday will also have a connection. 

According to Sunday’s release, another person has died from COVID-19, which now puts the number of deaths at 25.

There is also an increase in cases throughout Saskatchewan with cases linked to public and private social gatherings in the home and other venues.
Increasing case numbers and a rise in community transmission sparked a call from Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab for renewed vigilance and increased caution on Sunday. 

Shahab is reiterating the strong recommendation that masks be worn in all indoor public locations where people outside of your immediate or extended household are present and physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable.
“The power to prevent COVID-19 transmission rests with every resident of Saskatchewan,” Shahab said.  

“The best practices we recommend proved effective as we flattened the curve in the first weeks of the pandemic. Stay home if you experience even mild symptoms.  Maintain physical distancing of two metres.  Wear a mask when you may be unable to maintain this distance, particularly in indoor spaces, or as required in workplaces or schools.  We are now more than seven months into this pandemic event.  All residents should be familiar with these practices and all residents need to follow them at all times.”

The recovered number now sits at 1,900 since the start of the pandemic, after 12 more recoveries were reported.

The most active cases are 45 in the Central East, which includes Yorkton. The second highest active cases are 43 in Saskatoon, North Central is third and Regina is fourth with 35 active cases.

Yesterday, 3,237 COVID-19 tests were performed in Saskatchewan, which was the highest number to date.  As of today there have been 217,606 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan. 

Premier Calls for increased vigilance in light of recent COVID-19 Cases

On Monday Premier Scott Moe urged an increased vigilance in light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the province.

“We have seen our case numbers rise on a number of occasions over the past few months and every time, Saskatchewan people have been able to bring those numbers back down again through our collective efforts,” Moe said. 

“So let’s be especially vigilant in the days ahead.  Keep physically distancing, wear a mask when distancing may not be possible, wash your hands often, stay home if you are feeling unwell at all, avoid any unnecessary out of province travel and try to limit your number of close contacts as much as possible.”

Moe said the overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan people are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and others, but it only takes a few individuals stepping outside of the public guidelines to result in dozens of new cases.  There have now been several new cases linked to a recent Gospel Outreach outbreak in Prince Albert.

“Everyone needs to follow the public health guidelines put in place by Dr. Shahab and his team.  Keep public gatherings under 30 people and even less than that if you don’t have room to physically distance.  Self-isolate when required to do so.  If you don’t, the virus can spread quickly.

“Together, we have reduced the spread of COVID-19 before and I know we can do so again.  So keep following all the good practices and guidelines.  It’s how you will keep yourself and others safe.”

SHA warns that failure to abide by Public Health Orders may result in fines

Over the weekend the province reminded people that in Saskatchewan and across the country, public health authorities are seeing increasing transmission rates as a result of contravention of public health orders and guidelines, particularly as a result of public and private gatherings. 

 There can be very serious consequences for not following Public Health Orders, including fines.  Fines may be $2,000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporations, plus a victim surcharge.

As a number of contact investigations conclude, it is anticipated that fines will be issued in cases where negligence and misconduct have been found.