COVID-19 outbreak declared at third Saskatoon nightclub

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Jean-François Gagné, the co-chair of the COVID-19 Exposure Notification App Advisory Council, talks about Canada’s ‘Covid Alert’ app and just how effective it really is. – Oct 20, 2020

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a third nightclub in Saskatoon within two weeks.

The latest outbreak was declared at Outlaws Country Rock Bar in Saskatoon on Oct. 23, but the outbreak was made public by the health authority on Sunday.

Read more: Mask use could cut COVID-19 transmission in Saskatchewan by 50%: Shahab

At least eight cases of COVID-19 have been linked to Outlaws Country Rock Bar, says the Ministry of Health.

There are outbreaks at two other nightclubs in Saskatoon, including Diva’s and the Longbranch.

The outbreak at Diva’s was declared on Oct. 18, while the Longbranch outbreak was declared on Oct. 16.

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Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan

“In urban areas we’ve seen large transmission events from large nightclubs and fitness facilities,” Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said on Friday.

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According to the Ministry of Health, there is community transmission in Saskatoon, which is largely due to after-work socializing among young adults. As of Sunday afternoon, there are 78 cases linked to three Saskatoon nightclubs.

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Divas Nightclub in Saskatoon temporarily closes after coronavirus outbreak declared – Oct 19, 2020

There have been 48 cases linked to the Longbranch Bar, another 22 cases are linked to Diva’s Nightclub, and eight cases at Outlaws Country Rock Bar.

On Sunday, the province reported another 11 to the outbreak at the Canadian Brewhouse in Stonebridge. That outbreak was declared on Oct. 15.

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“In some cases as we’ve seen from the Saskatoon exposures, bar and nightclubs can also be people visiting urban areas for different venues, then taking COVID back to many rural communities as well,” Shahab said.

“In all cases there’s an increase of community transmission and spreading out to workplace settings. And this really is a reminder for all of us to practice best practices at all times.”

Read more: Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe says COVID-19 shutdowns are not necessary

In addition to following public health guidelines, Shahab recommends downloading the COVID Alert app.

“We in Canada, and most parts in North America and western Europe are hampered because we don’t have mandatory tracking apps. In Southeast Asia we have seen that a single person who can go bar hopping can expose dozens of people,” Shahab said.

“Unfortunately we’re not able to have that. In my view, everyone should have the COVID Alert app. It’s available to download. That will enable us to answer (more questions).”

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