2 coronavirus deaths reported in Saskatchewan, total rises to 10

WATCH: Dr. Saqib Shahab updates the coronavirus situation in Saskatchewan.

Two more people in Saskatchewan have died from the novel coronavirus.

Health officials said two people from the far north — one in their 60s and the other one in their 80s — have died from complications due to COVID-19.

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“These continue to be difficult times for people who are impacted in such a way,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer.

He added that he cannot provide further details of the victims.

“Because we now rely on and we want to rely more on our database, there will, going forward as the case numbers increase, be a one to two-day lag. But at least then in that case, we will have reliable information,” Shahab said.

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“I know it is challenging for all of us when there’s a bit of a lag. But we do need to, I think, adhere to this process so that we don’t, even though sometimes, there’s information that’s available through social media or other means. We do need to follow a consistent process just to be accurate in terms of what we are reporting.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan reports 2 new deaths, 3 new cases of COVID-19' Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan reports 2 new deaths, 3 new cases of COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan reports 2 new deaths, 3 new cases of COVID-19 – May 27, 2020

The daughter of one victim said her mother tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 30.

Nelda Maurice, 64, from Île-à-la-Crosse was put into a medically-induced coma within a week of the diagnosis, her daughter Lana Maurice told Global News.

Maurice died Monday at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, her daughter said.

Nelda Maurice tested positive for COVID-19 on April 30. Her daughter says she died on May 25, 2020. Lana Maurice / Submitted
Nelda Maurice tested positive for COVID-19 on April 30. Her daughter says she died on May 25, 2020. Lana Maurice / Submitted. Submitted by Lana Maurice

The latest deaths come as the province reported three new cases on Wednesday.

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Health officials said one new case is in the far north and two cases are in the Regina region.

It raises the overall total in the province to 637 — with 68 active cases. It’s the smallest number of active cases in Saskatchewan since April 26, when 61 were reported.

The majority of the active cases in the province — 55 — are in the far north.

Other regions with active cases are Saskatoon (six), the north (four), Regina (two) and the south region (one). The central region has no active cases.

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

Shahab also confirmed a community transmitted outbreak was declared in Saskatoon.

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“One person has tested positive, there’s one additional case which is presumptive positive,” Shahab said.

He said it is linked to mass gatherings that exceed provincial guideline numbers.

“This involves a contact tracing investigation that involves more than 60 people and involves cases linked to one or more gatherings that were family gatherings that exceeded the public health [order].”

“Our indication is that local medical health officer who’s leading the investigation, has been able to contact everyone,” Shahab said.

“But having said that, if there’s a mass transmission event or even when we see individual cases, as we learn about what were the exposure settings, we will continue to provide that feedback through these opportunities at press briefings.”

Gatherings are currently limited to no more than 10 people in the same household or extended household.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it involves two large family gatherings in early May.

The SHA said it declared the outbreak as it involves multiple households, but added there is no risk to the public as all close contacts are currently isolating at home. It added the outbreak is not linked to transmission at a health-care facility and hasn’t resulted in any hospitalizations to date.

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Shahab said people need to understand that nothing is risk-free but at the same time encouraged reengaging socially, albeit virtually for the most part.

“Even though we see more traffic on the roads, we see more people outside and in our green spaces enjoying the outdoors, which is very good. We still have to be very cautious that we still need to minimize transmission risk where we can,” Shahab said.

“We already know that getting together around food is a high risk. We have had large transmission events in the past before the gathering limits were reduced.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan’s top doctor confirms new community outbreak in Saskatoon' Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan’s top doctor confirms new community outbreak in Saskatoon
Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan’s top doctor confirms new community outbreak in Saskatoon – May 27, 2020

Ten more people have recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 559 — an 87.7 per cent recovery rate.

Here is a breakdown of total Saskatchewan cases by age:

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  • 93 people are 19 and under
  • 227 people are 20 to 39
  • 195 are 40 to 59
  • 104 people are 60 to 79
  • 18 people are 80 and over

Males make up 49 per cent of the cases, females 51 per cent.

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Officials said 363 cases are linked to community contact or mass gatherings, 141 are travel-related, 56 are under investigation by public health and 77 have no known exposure.

Saskatchewan has completed 45,118 tests so far for the virus, up 538 from Tuesday.

The Saskatchewan government announced on Wednesday it’s extended the provincial state of emergency for an additional two weeks.

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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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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

-With files from Thomas Piller

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