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Spike in Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 numbers attributed to Hatchet Lake outbreak

Officials said the large rise in new daily COVID-19 cases on July 8 is largely due to a previously reported outbreak in the Hatchet Lake area of Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Saskatchewan reported 113 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Officials said the large rise in new cases is largely due to a previously reported outbreak in the Hatchet Lake area.

The province said some First Nations, including Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, are using a rapid testing machine provided by the federal government.

They said the results then need to be entered manually into the provincial system, which was delayed as staff worked on an immediate response to the outbreak.

Read more: Masking guidelines to remain in place at most Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities

Thursday’s numbers bring the overall provincial case total to 49,152.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 case numbers in Saskatchewan is 42 — 3.5 per 100,000 people.

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Health officials said 62 people are in hospital, 11 of whom are in intensive care.

The province reported 17 recoveries on Thursday, bringing overall recoveries to 48,167.

No new deaths were reported and officials said 415 cases are considered active in Saskatchewan.

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Hatchet Lake response

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it has offered assistance to the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Agency to support the outbreak response.

Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation is under the jurisdiction of the NITHA.

Voluntary mass testing is underway and vaccinations are being offered door-to-door, according to a government release.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak has Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation calling for assistance

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The province said local public health officials and community leaders are actively working together on communicating risk, preventive measures and the importance of vaccinations.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is also engaged and is co-ordinating with the federal government in potentially securing further resources.

Variants of concern

Health officials said 12,238 variants of concern have been identified in Saskatchewan through screening.

Of lineage results reported for variants of concern, 6,879 are Alpha, 389 are Gamma, 309 are Delta and 10 are Beta.

Officials said confirmed Delta cases have risen significantly in the past two weeks.

Read more: Saskatchewan prepares to reopen July 11, offers public health guidance

The Delta variant is assumed to be 1.5 times more transmissible and twice as virulent as the Alpha variant and officials said two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are required for optimal protection against the Delta variant.

Vaccinations

Saskatchewan reported an additional 13,314 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Saskatchewan on Wednesday.

Of those, 1,779 were first doses and 11,535 were second doses.

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The province reported 71 per cent of those eligible for the vaccine have received their first dose and 51 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated.

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