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Central Saskatchewan hospital, clinic shuts down after doctor gets COVID-19

The RosthernMedical Clinic is located in Rosthern, Sask. about 45 minutes north of Saskatoon.
The RosthernMedical Clinic is located in Rosthern, Sask. about 45 minutes north of Saskatoon. Rosthern Medical Clinic / Facebook

The Rosthern Hospital and Rosthern Medical Clinic closed on Friday after a doctor tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Jesse Melle, who works at the clinic, confirmed the news Saturday on the facility’s official Facebook Page.

“I want to assure you that throughout the last week myself and my colleagues followed the guidance of the Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Federal Governments on appropriate social distancing and safe practices regarding [the] transmission of the virus,” reads the post.

“Even with strict adherence to the recommendations at the time, against our best efforts and with very cautious hygiene, my wife and I still contracted the virus.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 18 new COVID-19 cases, province totals 44

Melle said he has learned the only way to keep safe is by staying home.

“I want to assure you that as soon as I am well, I will be returning to the only thing I know how to do — the thing I love — helping this community to stay healthy. Be kind to one another. Stay well. We are in this together.”

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Due to privacy laws, the Saskatchewan Health Authority could not confirm if the hospital and clinic were closed because Melle has COVID-19. However, the SHA was able to confirm the facility was closed due to staff shortages.

The SHA says this is a temporary disruption of emergency and lab services.

While the hospital and clinic are not providing in-person consolations, its physicians and staff are available over the phone during regular hours.

11 Saskatchewan health-care workers test positive for COVID-19

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of those new cases, over half are health-care workers who attended a curling bonspiel in Alberta. It’s unknown if Melle attended the event.

According to chief health medical officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, 22 health-care staff and physicians from Saskatchewan had attended the bonspiel. Of those, 11 tested positive for COVID-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: SMA president Dr. Allan Woo tests positive for COVID-19

“This is a startling reminder of the risks of gatherings. Even as health-care workers … we are not immune to this virus in a social setting,” Shahab said.

“And this is a stark reminder to all of us that we need to take care immediately in any gatherings while outside, and avoid all gatherings where you can’t maintain a two-metre separation.”

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

Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.

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 social distancing, 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.