Hospital visitor restrictions, casinos closing part of coronavirus prevention

WATCH: Coverage in Saskatchewan on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer announced further preventive measures on Monday morning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saskatchewan government said while concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to rise, the risk remains low but is increasing.

Visits to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes have been restricted to essential visitors only by order of Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer.

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Immediate family visiting during compassionate reasons is considered essential visitors, officials said.


The government said all faith-based organizations are no longer exempt from the public gathering restrictions of no public gatherings over 250 people in any one room.

Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan’s total COVID-19 cases now at 6
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan’s total COVID-19 cases now at 6

Casino closures

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SaskGaming said it is heeding the advice of public health officials on the COVID-19 outbreak and will temporarily close Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw until further notice.

This closure is effective at the end of the gaming day Monday, which is 2 a.m. on March 17 at Casino Moose Jaw and 4 a.m. on March 17 at Casino Regina.

READ MORE: Public schools in Saskatchewan closing amid coronavirus concerns

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In accordance with its pandemic plan, SaskGaming said some of its employees have been deemed essential to the continued management of the corporation’s assets.

“Ensuring our employees can focus on staying healthy and taking care of their families during this temporary shutdown is critically important,” SaskGaming’s president and CEO Susan Flett said in a press release.

“SaskGaming will endeavour to minimize any financial hardship created for employees as a result of this temporary shutdown.”

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) announced later on Monday it will temporarily suspend operations at all of its casinos in the province for the next two weeks and then re-access the situation.

“We regret the impact this decision will have on our team members, guests and communities,” SIGA president and CEO Zane Hansen said in a statement.

“SIGA is working to minimize any financial hardship created for our employees while operations are suspended, so they can focus on their health and well-being during this difficult time.”

SIGA said some team members will stay on in essential positions to manage and protect the corporation’s assets.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan activates its pandemic plan following new presumptive cases of COVID-19

New COVID-19 self-assessment tool

A new COVID-19 self-assessment tool has been launched by the government to determine whether people in Saskatchewan should be tested for COVID-19.

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Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.