Province up to 271 COVID cases, 15 more recovered

Saskatchewan has 11 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 8, bringing the provincial total to 271, with 165 of the cases considered active. Fifteen more people have recovered, bringing the provincial total to 103.

Overall in Saskatchewan, 26 of the cases are health care workers; however, the source of the infections may not be related to health care in all instances.

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“The physical distancing measures that we are taking together are working,” said Premier Scott Moe.

“So far, our case numbers and hospitalizations have remained relatively low and somewhat manageable. While the SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority) continues to plan for a surge in cases and hospitalizations, as they should be, we have an opportunity to ensure that those projections do not become a reality,” he added.Currently, there are eight people in hospitals across the province from COVID-19. Six people are receiving inpatient care, while two are in intensive care.

Moe said to ensure the capacity is there to boost numbers for contact tracing, the province is utilizing the University of Saskatchewan’s medical students. If more capacity is needed, the province plans to also work with two nursing schools in the province.

“Ongoing testing and contact tracing will be key measures, not only to control the spread of COVID-19 today, but also will be key measures in the weeks ahead,” said Moe.

Moe said as more people start to recover and new case numbers remain low, the province can begin to look at the potential of lifting restrictions and reopening parts of the Saskatchewan economy.

“We are still several weeks away from even beginning that process,” said Moe.

“When it does start, it will occur slowly. It will occur incrementally, and it will occur thoughtfully and methodically,” he added.Of the 271 cases in the province, 119 cases are travellers; 90 are community contacts (mass gatherings included); 16 have no known exposures; and 46 are under investigation by local public health.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab added during the press conference, with April having many religious observances such as Easter, Passover and Ramadan, it is critical to minimize face-to-face contact.

“It’s really important that we continue to practise physical distancing over the next few days and weeks and find ways of celebrating within our household, but celebrate with others virtually,” said Shahab.Of the other cases, 135 of the cases are from the Saskatoon area, 56 from the Regina area, 51 from the north, 15 from the south, 10 from the central region and four from the far north.

Looking at age categories, 15 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, while the remainder are adults: 114 cases are in the 20-44 age range; 94 are in the 45-64 age range; and 48 are in the 65-plus range.

About 54 per cent of the cases are males and 46 per cent are females. Three deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported to date.

To date, 15,621 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the province.  Saskatchewan continues to have the second highest rate of testing per capita among the provinces. Case surveillance and testing information, including regional locations of confirmed cases, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.