Five new coronavirus cases were reported in Saskatchewan on Thursday as the province announced it is expanding testing for the virus.
Four of the new cases were in the La Loche area and one case was reported in Regina, with overall cases in the province rising to 582.
The far north has 146 active cases — 82 per cent of the 178 active cases in the province.
Other regions with active cases are the north (21), Saskatoon (9), Regina (1) and central (1).
The new case in Regina involves a resident at an independent supported-living facility who is now at Pasqua Hospital.
In a document sent to Global News by a family member of a resident at the Revera Renaissance Retirement Residence, Revera says a resident tested positive for COVID-19 on May 13.
According to the document, Dr. Rhonda Collins, Revera’s chief medical health officer, said all residents are being monitored for symptoms and staff are being tested before and after their shifts.
“We are doing enhanced cleaning at the Renaissance, disinfecting high-touch surfaces like handrails and doors, resident rooms, common areas, and staff rooms more frequently,” Collins said.
She added all residents and their families have been notified, along with staff, and said that Revera will continue to provide updates.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, said contact tracing is underway.
“Out of an initial 60 (hospital contacts), 20 are health-care workers who may be assessed further,” Shahab said.
Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), said it is still not known where the patient picked up the disease.
“It’s not confirmed that it is in the hospital, we’re looking both in the community, the facility… as well as the hospital, and that will evolve as more contact tracing occurs over the next 24 hours.”
The SHA said a presumptive case has been identified in the Lac La Ronge community.
A person in their 60s was tested on Wednesday and the SHA said that a contact tracing investigation is underway.
Health authorities said anyone who shopped or bought gas at the following locations on the days listed should self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Fire Creek Gas Station in Saskatoon – May 4
- Co-Op Gas Bar, La Ronge – May 4 -11
- Robertson Store, La Ronge – May 11
- Keethanow Supermarket, La Ronge – May 5-8
- Keethanow Gas Bar, La Ronge – May 4
- Craving Restaurant La Ronge – May 1-9
The Lac La Ronge case is not included in Thursday’s coronavirus update from the province.
Ten people are in hospital — six in Saskatoon, three in the north and one in Regina. Three people in Saskatoon are in intensive care.
Six deaths have been reported due to COVID-19.
Health officials said details on expanded COVID-19 testing will be released during the week of May 18, but said it will be available to anyone working outside the home.
Proactive testing will also be carried out on at-risk people, including patients staying more than 24 hours in hospital and expectant mothers entering a hospital to give birth.
Immunocompromised asymptomatic individuals, including cancer patients in advance of undergoing immunosuppressive procedures such as chemotherapy, will also be tested along with health staff working with immunocompromised patients.
Mobile testing will also take place in high-volume work settings such as factories.
Thirteen new recoveries were reported, bringing the number of recoveries to 385.
Here is a breakdown of total Saskatchewan cases by age:
- 81 people are 19 and under
- 205 people are 20 to 39
- 180 are 40 to 59
- 98 people are 60 to 79
- 18 people are 80 and over
Males make up 49 per cent of the cases; females 51 per cent.
Officials said 302 cases are linked to community contacts or mass gatherings, 139 are travel-related, 74 are under investigation and 67 have no known exposure.
Saskatchewan has completed 38,728 tests so far for the virus, up 571 from Wednesday.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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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