Third coronavirus-related death recorded in Saskatchewan, state of emergency extended

Third coronavirus-related death recorded in Saskatchewan
WATCH: Saskatchewan has recorded its third death due to complications from COVID-19 as Premier Scott Moe extends the state of emergency.

The state of emergency in Saskatchewan has been extended as the death toll from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has risen in Saskatchewan.

Officials said the latest death was a person between the ages of 80 and 89. Officials did not provide the person’s gender or their location in the province.

The first two deaths in the province were reported on Monday.

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The news comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Saskatchewan edged upwards.

Health officials reported nine new cases on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 193, including five at a Saskatoon jail.

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“At this point we have no reason to believe these cases were spread within the correctional facility, although we are working with public health to confirm this,” a Ministry of Justice spokesman said in a statement.

“Currently, no inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.”

Premier Scott Moe said the state of emergency announced on March 18 in the province is being extended.

“Two weeks ago today, I declared a state of emergency to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in Saskatchewan,” Moe said.

“Today, I am extending that state of emergency for another two weeks.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan has third COVID-19-related death, extends state of emergency 2 more weeks
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan has third COVID-19-related death, extends state of emergency 2 more weeks

Moe said all orders previously issued remain in place.

“These measures, I would say, are working,” he said.

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“They are working because the people of Saskatchewan, each and every one of you, are doing your part.”

“Thank you for doing your part.”

Four people are in hospital — one in intensive care in Regina and three inpatients in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: How long will coronavirus measures last in Canada? Experts say June or July

Officials said 87 cases are linked to travel, 41 to community contacts and eight are being called “no known exposures.” The cause of transmission in 57 other cases remains under investigation by public health officials.

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They said they have traced 24 cases back to a Christopher Lake snowmobile rally dinner on March 14.

“It’s not just due to travel, we really need to accept that we have COVID-19 now as a risk in Saskatchewan,” said Dr. Saqid Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer.

The largest number of cases continue to be in Saskatoon. Officials said there were four new cases in the city, raising the total to 94.

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Regina now has 43 cases, an increase of four, while cases in the north remained at 37.

There are currently nine cases in the central region, seven in the south and three in the far north.

Officials said 30 people have now recovered.

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Shahad said it could be weeks before the curve flattens in Saskatchewan.

“We want to do everything we can to keep the curve as flat as we can on the way up,” Shahab said.

“Obviously, at some point, we want to see the curve going down. Is that going to be in four weeks, in eight weeks, we really can’t predict.”

Shahab said the harder everyone works to prevent the curve from going up, the earlier it will plateau and go down.

“That is the best case we want to aim for.”

“It’s up to all of us to make it happen, but we have to assess this on a week-to-week basis.”

Moe said another number he is keeping an eye on is recoveries.

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“That is a number I watch because that is the number that when you start to put it into the statistics of what this is, that helps ascertain what of a load we are having at any point in time on our health care system.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan says COVID-19 curve starting to flatten
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan says COVID-19 curve starting to flatten

The three deaths to date in Saskatchewan have been people in their 70s and 80s.

Shahab said to his knowledge, none of those people were living in long-term or assisted care homes, where there is great concern of preventing COVID-19 from spreading to these facilities.

“We are obviously watching very closely and any outbreaks or symptoms of concern in those settings are investigated for COVID-19,” he said.

Shahab said he realizes the visiting restrictions in place are trying on families.

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“It’s very challenging with the restrictions that people who have loved ones in those facilities can’t visit are frequently as they want to,” he said.

“But, all of that is exactly because we want to minimize any outbreaks in those settings.”

Other provinces have reported deaths in long-term care homes, including 14 residents and a spouse of a resident at a facility in Ontario.

Moe said the province had to move quickly to protect people who are at a higher risk.

“I am hopeful that we were… moved in an appropriate time there to hold COVID-19 out of those facilities as the outcomes are just not as positive for our communities, elderly and the generation that came before us,” Moe said.

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— With a file from The Canadian Press

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

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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