Saskatchewan has reported its highest total number of new coronavirus cases in a single day — 60 — while passing the 1,000-case mark, according to the provincial government on Wednesday.
On July 17, 42 total new cases were reported, the second-highest amount in a single day.
The province’s total currently sits at 1,030 cases with the majority of Wednesday’s cases located in the south region with a spike of 50. There were also four in the Saskatoon region, three in the central, two in the far north and last in the north.
There are currently 17 Hutterite communities with active cases and 43 cases from the spike are from a single colony in the rural municipality (RM) of Lawtonia.
“These case numbers are very concerning, but they are not entirely unexpected. This large number of cases was detected as a result of the aggressive testing and the contact tracing that the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has been doing in a number of Hutterite communities in the province,” Premier Scott Moe said.
“That work is ongoing. So it’s possible that we may see similar case numbers in other communities in the very near future.”
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said, for some time now, they’ve seen a shift of concern to southwest and central-west parts of the province.
“There are about now 17 Hutterites communities with active cases in Saskatchewan. And this, of course, does not mean to suggest the risk clearly only resides in these communities,” Shahab said.
“The risk is widespread. There are sporadic cases throughout the province. But we do know that in community living settings, that is where you can get an explosive increase in cases.”
Thirteen people are currently in hospital — 10 are receiving inpatient care and three are in intensive care.
Twelve more people have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 825.
There are currently 190 active cases in the province, health officials said. Active cases are total cases less recoveries and deaths.
There have been 15 COVID-19-related deaths in Saskatchewan.
To date, more than 84,915 tests have been carried out in the province. Officials said universal testing continues to be performed at a high rate, with 1,240 COVID-19 tests being conducted on Tuesday.
With no new positive cases in over two weeks, the SHA announced Wednesday it’s easing visitor restrictions at Victoria Hospital and long-term care homes in Prince Albert. The July 8 restrictions had limited visitors to family members or support people for compassionate reasons only.
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. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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