Coronavirus: Number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan rises to 20

The number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan has gone up, including confirmed cases.

Officials said there are now eight confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 12 presumptive cases.

Five of the confirmed cases are in Regina, two in Saskatoon and one in northern Saskatchewan.

Health officials said 19 of the 20 patients are self-isolating at home. One person is in hospital for medical reasons not related to COVID-19.

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, said three of the four new cases are travel-related, while the fourth is due to close contact.

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The latest numbers come as the president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, Dr. Allan Woo, said he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Woo believes he contracted the virus during a bonspiel with 50 to 60 other doctors in Edmonton between March 11-14 and is currently self-isolating.

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Shahab said it is too soon to determine if any others in attendance need to do the same as the case is still under investigation.

“Details are sought about where each of the participants were, did certain people sit together as a group and mix more than others,” Shahab said.

“Based on that, a determination will be made shortly.

“Initially, all people are alerted that they need to wait for that assessment, so they will be in self-isolation, but ultimately it doesn’t mean that everyone is identified as a close contact.”

Shahab said it is also too soon to determine how many doctors from Saskatchewan were at the bonspiel or how it might impact the province’s response to COVID-19.

The Saskatchewan government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Measures put in place include prohibiting public gatherings of more than 50 people and limiting seating at restaurants and bars.

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It was previously announced that all public schools in the province will close indefinitely on March 20.

Shahab reiterated the importance of everyone returning to Saskatchewan from international travel to self-isolated for 14 days.

“Self-monitor, isolate when we’re symptomatic, seek testing if required, otherwise stay home,” Shahab advised.

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

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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.

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More to come.

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