The number of new coronavirus cases in Saskatchewan’s far north continues to rise.
Saskatchewan health officials reported 13 new cases in the province on Friday, raising the overall total to 544.
Twelve of those cases are in the far north — all in the La Loche area, where an outbreak was declared on April 17.
The far north (148) accounts for nearly three-quarters of the active cases in the province (203).
One new case was reported in the north region, which has 38 active cases.
The remaining active cases are in Saskatoon (15) and Regina (two).
The number of people hospitalized jumped in the past 24 hours from 12 on Thursday to 19 on Friday.
Twelve people are in hospital in Saskatoon — three in intensive care — and seven people are hospitalized in the north, with one person in intensive care.
Dr. Saqib Shahab was unable to say how many people in hospital are from La Loche or the far north.
“We will be doing a more reliable indicator on a daily basis which will track overall hospitalizations and ICU,” said Shahab, who is the province’s chief medical health officer.
“We do expect to see some increase in hospitalization from the northwest of the province, but right now because the outbreak is in mostly younger people, we think that will be lower.”
As an outbreak was declared over at Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital, Public Health clarified how it will declare outbreaks in the future.
Outbreaks at all Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities will be publicly posted.
These include hospitals, long-term care homes, and assisted living facilities with a long-term care unit if cases are associate with the unit.
They also includes personal care homes and homeless shelters and all correctional facilities in Saskatchewan.
Advisories will also be issued when there is a risk to the public.
Declaring outbreaks in workplaces, industrial or commercial spaces will be done on a case-by-case basis, Public Health said.
Public notifications will also occur in the absence of an outbreak being declared when there is a risk of transmission to the public, the agency added.
Here is a breakdown of Saskatchewan cases by age:
- 72 people are 19 and under
- 192 people are 20 to 39
- 171 are 40 to 59
- 93 people are 60 to 79
- 16 people are 80 and over
Males make up 50 per cent of the cases, females 50 per cent.
Meanwhile, six more people have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 335.
Officials said 138 cases are travel-related, 260 are community contacts or linked to mass gatherings, 56 have no known exposures and 90 remain under investigation.
Saskatchewan has completed 35,176 tests so far for the virus, up 815 from Thursday.
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.
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