Saskatchewan CMHO urges caution about gatherings as coronavirus cases linked to events climb

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 44 new cases, top doctor urges need to follow rules' Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 44 new cases, top doctor urges need to follow rules
WATCH: Saskatchewan reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and Dr. Saqib Shahab warned residents to continue to abide by ongoing public safety measures – Oct 20, 2020

As Saskatchewan’s coronavirus caseload continues to climb, the chief medical health officer says people “really have to be careful” when it comes to gathering and stick to “a small consistent group.”

On Tuesday afternoon at the legislative building, Dr. Saqib Shahab discussed the primary, secondary and tertiary cases that continue to be linked to Saskatoon nightclubs, a religious gathering in Prince Albert, weddings and parties — and now, Thanksgiving dinners.

Read more: Divas Nightclub in Saskatoon temporarily closes after coronavirus outbreak declared

In some cases, “people, unfortunately, went, while infectious, to not one gathering but several gatherings,” the doctor said while talking about Thanksgiving.

“Small events can lead to significant transmission.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan anticipates Prince Albert outbreak to spread throughout north

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Saskatchewan has had “notable superspreader events,” said Shahab, who went on to refer to Prince Albert, where the Full Gospel Outreach events occurred between  Sept. 14 and Oct. 4.

In early October, the province said 11 cases were connected, that number has grown dramatically, with 60 cases linked directly to the event and 107 cases in contacts of people who attend the event — and also in contacts of those contacts.

“One single transmission event can quickly snowball,” Shahab said.

Read more: 6 Prince Albert, Sask., police officers test positive for the coronavirus

Saskatchewan recorded 44 new cases Tuesday on the heels of Monday’s daily all-time high of 66 cases.“This is not the trend we want to see in the province,” Shahab said.As of Tuesday, 18 people were hospitalized. Of them, two are between the ages of 20 and 39, four are between 40 and 59, six (including two in intensive care) are between 60 and 79 and four are over the age of 80 years old.
The doctor said he recognizes with reopening, more people are going to work and going out.“We need to do that responsibly,” Shahab said.

Read more: Saskatchewan will shut down parts of economy should daily COVID-19 cases continue to rise

The doctor said if cases continue to surge, restrictions could be reinstated — at least in part, in areas where transmission is happening at a high rate.In the north central region, which includes Prince Albert, the Saskatchewan Health Authority has restricted visitations to compassionate reasons only at a number of its facilities: Victoria Hospital, Parkland Integrated Health Centre, Herb Bassett Home, Pineview Terrace, Mont St. Joseph Home, Birchview Home, Birch Hills (but not the attached primary care clinic).
Click to play video: 'Active coronavirus cases continue to reach new heights in Saskatchewan' Active coronavirus cases continue to reach new heights in Saskatchewan
Active coronavirus cases continue to reach new heights in Saskatchewan – Oct 20, 2020
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.

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

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