The Saskatchewan government reported the province’s youngest death due to the novel coronavirus as it gave an update on cases on Tuesday.
The deceased person was in their 20s and was a resident in the north region who tested positive for coronavirus, according to a press release.
“I’d like to start by expressing my condolences to the family of a young person from northern Saskatchewan, who passed away due to COVID-19,” Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Tuesday.
“It really is a reminder for all of us that while serious illness and that will be rarer in people who are younger, it does occasionally happen and it’s an unfortunate reminder for us that COVID does not discriminate by age or other factors. It’s a risk for all of us and that’s exactly why we need to continue to take precautions.”
There have been 15 COVID-19-related deaths in Saskatchewan. Broken down, in addition to the one in their 20s, there have been four fatalities involving people in their 80s, five in the 70s, four in the 60s and one in the 50s.
In Saskatchewan, people aged 20 to 39 account for 283 of the total cases to date.
“Younger people who are more likely to be out and about, young adults who may be working in health care and other sectors, they are more likely to be exposed, but also less likely to have serious outcomes. But having said that, the death that we are reporting today reminds us that COVID can be deadly in any age group,” Shahab said.
“We continue to see an increasing number of cases in all age groups, especially the young, and this really is a reminder that as we enjoy the summer, we need to continue to focus on physical distancing, especially when we’re outdoors where it’s easy to do on beaches (and) playgrounds.”
Health officials said there is one new case in the daily update, with the overall total for the province at 806 since the first case was reported in March. They added the new case is a Saskatoon region resident who was tested out of province.
Four people are currently in hospital — three are receiving inpatient care in the north region and one is in Saskatoon.
Five more people have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 737.
There are currently 54 active cases in the province, health officials said. Active cases are total cases less recoveries and deaths.
Shahab also said he has some concerns in the north region.
“The other thing I want to flag is that we have seen an increase in hospitalizations, again from the northern part of Saskatchewan around the (Prince Albert) area,” Shahab said, “without an increase in cases in the community and what that shows is that, because you need many cases to result in hospitalization… there’s a lack of testing happening in the (Prince Albert) area. Testing capacity is there but it appears that people are not coming forward for testing if they have mild symptoms.”
To date, over 70,290 tests have been carried out in the province.
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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