Chief medical officer Dr. Saqib Shahab confirmed four new presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan on Thursday, bringing the total number to 20.
“We are closely watching to see if there is any local transmission without any link to a known case of travel. So far, we haven’t had any of those situations, but that is another area we want to keep reporting on,” said Shahab at a press conference.
Twelve of the 20 cases are presumptive positive and eight are confirmed. As of Wednesday, there were only two confirmed cases of the virus in Saskatchewan with the rest being presumptive. To date, there have been 2,561 tests for COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.
Of the 20 cases, 19 are well enough to self isolate at home and one presumptive positive case is in hospital for unrelated reasons. Six of the cases are in the Saskatoon area, nine are in the Regina area, one case is in central-rural Saskatchewan, two are in south-rural Saskatchewan and two cases are in northern Saskatchewan.
Shahab said the importance of calling ahead instead of showing up to a doctor’s office is an important part to restricting community transmission, and helping stop the spread to medical and health care professionals. Shahab added several medical professionals have already been quarantined due to lack of proper communication with patients who were symptomatic.
“If you haven’t pre-announced that you have a cough or a fever you will then expose the health care provider. That is something we really need to pay special emphasis to. Please call ahead if you need to see your primary care provider,” said Shahab.
On Wednesday, Saskatchewan declared a state of emergency with furthered restrictions to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the province.
The restrictions included no gatherings of more than 50 people, as well as closing all gyms and fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls. The restrictions also required limiting all restaurants, bars and event venues seating to 50 per cent of capacity or up to a 50 people, whichever is lesser, and must be able to ensure a social distance of one to two metres between customers.