Public health measures currently in place in Saskatchewan to slow the spread of COVID-19 are being extended for an additional two weeks.
The province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said the measures that were set to expire on April 12 will remain in force until at least April 26.
“It is critical we don’t give up on our public health measures,” Shahab said during a Wednesday briefing.
Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman said as more people are vaccinated the province can start looking at relaxing measures.
“But, it’s too soon to tell just yet,” he cautioned.
“That can only happen if we see the case numbers start to decline and the way to achieve that is by following all the public health orders and guidelines.”
Merriman said they are not considering similar measures that Ontario and Alberta recently enacted.
Ontario issued a four-week stay-at-home order effective Thursday morning and Alberta shut down indoor dining, curbed indoor fitness and reduced retail capacity.
“I think we do have very good restrictions,” Merriman said.
“Our restrictions are working right now, with the exception of Regina.”
In the Regina region, private indoor gatherings are banned with limited exceptions.
People living alone and single parents of minor children can meet with one consistent household of fewer than five people. Health officials said current co-parenting arrangements can continue.
Regina remains under a travel advisory, with travel into and out of the region not recommended unless absolutely necessary.
Restaurants and bars are closed to in-person dining, but takeout and delivery service are permitted, and most event venues supporting 30 persons or less are not permitted to operate.
Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan
Health officials said variant of concern (VOC) cases are rising across southern Saskatchewan, particularly in the Moose Jaw and Weyburn regions, and are urging people in those areas to adhere to best personal protective measures.
As of Wednesday, Saskatchewan reported a total of 2,830 VOC, with 1,986 of those in the Regina zone.
The south central zone, which includes Moose Jaw, had 245 VOC, while the south east zone, which includes Weyburn, had 232 VOC.
Elsewhere in the province, household gatherings are limited to two to three consistent households and cannot exceed 10 people.
Health officials also recommend that people 50 years of age and older limit contacts to their immediate household until they are vaccinated.
The province also eased restrictions on places of worship as of March 19, with the exception of the Regina region.
They are allowed up to 30 per cent of capacity or 150 people, whichever is lesser.
All masking protocols remain in place, however, clergy may remove their mask while officiating provided three metres of distancing is maintained.