Saskatchewan reported 11 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, but said the overall count only rose by two to 753 after nine non-Saskatchewan resident cases were removed from the total count.
The Saskatchewan government also said Phase 4.2 of its reopening plan will partially go ahead on June 29.
The province said the change in the total count was made after the Public Health Agency of Canada provided surveillance guidance regarding the attribution of COVID-19 cases amongst the provinces and territories.
Ten of the new cases are in the far north and the other case is in Saskatoon.
Premier Scott Moe linked the recent rise in cases to two localized outbreaks.
“One related to a recent funeral and wake in the Clearwater River Dene Nation and the other in the RM of Maple Creek,” Moe said.
“In both cases the Saskatchewan Health Authority is working closely with communities and community leaders to control the spread through testing, contact tracing and self-isolation.”
The province’s chief medical health officer said most of the cases are secondary household cases.
“Whenever there is a mass gathering or transmission event, you do see for a few weeks of secondary cases or chains of transmission due to household contact,” Dr. Saqib Shahab said.
“That’s what we are seeing in the northwest.”
Health officials said 98 cases are active, the highest number of active cases since May 22, when there were 99 active cases.
The majority of the active cases — 53 — are in the far north, with 35 in the south region, nine in Saskatoon and one in the north. There are no active cases in Regina or the central region.
Three people are in hospital in the south, with one person in intensive care. One person is receiving inpatient care in Saskatoon.
Recoveries are now reported by health officials to be 642.
Thirteen people have died in Saskatchewan due to COVID-19.
Phase 4.2, other reopening changes
Libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres can reopen on June 29.
Crowd sizes at movie theatres and live theatres is limited to 30 per capacity or 150 people, whichever is less.
Officials said reopening dates for the other activities in Phase 4, including indoor pools and rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls, will be announced over the next two weeks.
The province also said parks and campgrounds can operate at 100 per cent capacity starting June 26 for overnight stays. Access to washrooms and shower facilities is also allowed, but officials said increased cleaning and disinfecting must take place.
Locker rooms, shower facilities and change rooms can now open at gyms and fitness facilities, beaches, campgrounds, golf courses and facilities where outdoor sports and activities are played.
Increased cleaning and disinfection of these facilities is required.
Officials said change rooms in clothing and retail stores can now move to 100 per cent occupancy.
Sports and activities are now able to resume, including playing games, if physical distancing can be maintained.
“Contact sports are now allowed and spectators are now allowed at games so long as they follow physical-distancing measures,” Moe said.
Where distancing can’t be maintained, such as full-contact sports, mini-leagues should be formed to allow teams to safely return to playing games while helping mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Moe doesn’t believe the province is moving too fast in moving to Phase 4.2, which comes one week after the start of Phase 4.1.
“Our goal continues to be, as it always has been, to reopen as quickly as possible while doing so as safely as possible,” Moe said.
Here is a breakdown of total Saskatchewan cases by age:
- 107 people are 19 and under
- 258 people are 20 to 39
- 237 are 40 to 59
- 130 people are 60 to 79
- 21 people are 80 and over
Females make up 51 per cent of the cases, males 49 per cent.
Officials said 452 cases are linked to community contact or mass gatherings, 157 are travel-related, 98 have no known exposure and 46 are under investigation by public health.
Saskatchewan has completed 61,226 tests so far for the virus, up 446 from Monday. It’s the fewest tests reported over a 24-hour period since June 9, when 282 tests were reported.
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.
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