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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 66

Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 66
WATCH: The Saskatchewan government reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total to 66 in the province.

Saskatchewan reports 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the province to 66 as of Monday, March 23.

Sixty-five of those cases are confirmed. One remains presumptive. Two cases involve individuals between the ages of five and 19.

Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan confirms 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing provincial total to 66
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan confirms 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing provincial total to 66

The province says 61 per cent of cases are male, 39 per cent are female. Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory in Regina has performed 5,269 COVID-19 tests, to date.

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In addition, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that certain measures had come into effect as of Monday, including the closures of restaurants, with the exception of takeout and delivery, entertainment and recreational facilities and personal service facilities, among others.

Moe also said that research for a COVID-19 vaccine is continuing at the University of Saskatchewan, and that a vaccine candidate made in February will be tested, letting researchers know in four weeks whether that vaccine works in animal models.

“Today, the prime minister announced $23 million in further support for VIDO-InterVac – a critical investment in research that is occurring right here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.

Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan
Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan

“This will support that research and allow the lab to expand its bio-manufacturing to support clinical trials.”

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Monday that the province is at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic because most of the cases are either travel-related or related to exposure in large events, which have since been prohibited in Saskatchewan.

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“We have seen and heard throughout Saskatchewan, how people are responsibly practicing staying home in self-isolation if they have travelled back [to Canada] or in contact [with the virus],” Shahab said.

“If we can sustain this, we can keep our curve flat… we still do not have evidence of community transmission.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan health official says most cases still large event, travel-related
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan health official says most cases still large event, travel-related

The province continues to push self-isolation, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms of fever, along with calling the HealthLine 811 for further direction.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan reports new cases of COVID-19 bringing total to 52

For those travelling back from international destinations, including the United States, you are subject to mandatory self-isolation for at least 14 days.

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People under mandatory isolation are not allowed to go to work, school and public areas. This includes churches, stores, shopping malls and restaurants.

The province says not to take buses, taxis or ridesharing and to not have visitors in the home. Non-urgent appointments are to be cancelled or rescheduled.

To obtain essentials, the province says to ask friends or family to pick up for you or use delivery/pick-up services.

If you’re not feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, you are allowed to go outside. That includes using your backyard and going for a walk while maintaining a social distance of two metres.

Saskatchewan Health Authority says they have testing sites operating in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current and Weyburn. They have 19 sites across the integrated north and six rural sites.

Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19
Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19

Saskatchewan NDP calls for direct financial aid

On Monday, Saskatchewan NDP Party Leader Ryan Meili made a call out to the province asking it to provide “direct, immediate financial aid to Saskatchewan people.”

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Rather than “creating categories of people who will be eligible for financial aid, the province needs to prioritize speed with a far-reaching aid package,” Meili said in a statement.

“The plans released to date leave too many falling through the cracks. To keep our economy afloat and to ensure people are able to cover their basic needs, we need the province to take quick action.”

READ MORE: Team launched in Saskatchewan to help with business hardships caused by COVID-19

Meili is also questioning the province’s decision to allow employers to lay off its workers without notice or pay-in-lieu, without certainty of being rehired.

“We cannot leave people without any money in their pockets in this crisis. We are calling for fast action to help people,” Meili said.

More than 500,000 Canadian applied for Employment Insurance last week, according to Meili.

Moe also announced the province created a Business Response Team to help with the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan premier signs order enforcing measures protecting against spread of COVID-19

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

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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.

-With files from Mickey Djuric and Alexia Kapralos.