After a few days of lower numbers COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in Saskatchewan.
The province reported 13 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday which pushes the provincial numbers past 200 for the first time. It brings the provincial total to 206.
Four are in hospital: two are in inpatient care in Saskatoon, while two people are in intensive care in Regina and in Saskatoon. Six more have recovered bringing the provincial total to 36.
Of the 206 cases in the province 96 are travellers, 44 are community contacts (mass gatherings included), 10 have no known exposures, and 56 are under investigation by local public health.
Overall in Saskatchewan, there are 38 in the North region which includes the Battlefords, this is up one from yesterday. A total of 103 are from the Saskatoon area, 44 from Regina, nine from the central region, nine from the south and three from the far north.
The age breakdown is as follows: six cases are people age 19 and under, 93 are in the 20-44 age range, 74 are ages 45-64 age range, and 33 are 65-plus.
The percentage breakdown is 55-45 per cent males-females.
There were no new deaths reported Thursday so the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 remains at three.
In one piece of good news, there have been no cases reported yet in long-term care homes.
To date 11,395 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan.
MOE TO JOIN CONFERENCE CALL WITH PREMIERS, PRIME MINISTER LATER THURSDAY
A news conference with Premier Scott Moe, the province's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, and Dr. Susan Shaw of Saskatchewan health Authority took place Thursday.
At that news conference Premier Moe said he had just been on a conference call with the premiers, and would be joining in a conference call with the premiers and the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister later that day.
He said they would be taking a message of collaboration to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Their main priority, said Moe, would be the procurement of personal protection equipment.
Dr. Shahab continued to preach a message to the public to avoid unnecessary interactions.
“We are at a critical point,” said Dr. Shahab, who noted “we have seen significant surges” both in the province and in other countries.
Dr. Shahab also was asked about cases involving health care workers. He confirmed 11 cases stemming from an event – in this case the curling bonspiel attended by Saskatchewan doctors in Edmonton in mid-March. He also confirmed an additional six cases involving health care workers, though in two cases it was unclear whether it was through a patient setting or a community setting.
PROJECTIONS, MODELS COMING NEXT WEEK
The news conference was held in the wake of an increasing controversy about a lack of information on projection models of case numbers of COVID-19 in Canada – information that has been released regularly in other countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and minister of health Patty Hajdu had said earlier the federal government would not be releasing projection numbers on COVID-19. Later that afternoon, the federal government reversed course and said COVID-19 modelling data will be shared in the coming days.
In Ontario, premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that health officials in his province would be releasing information about modelling and projections in his own province on Friday.
Premier Moe said he heard Ford’s comments earlier that day.
“He said the people of his province deserve the same information he had. And I agree. The more information that we are able to provide to the province of Saskatchewan the better informed we will all be as our province works to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Along with the Minister of Health, Moe said he has asked the Saskatchewan Health Authority to provide a briefing to the public through the media early next week. This would include models and projections of the spread of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, and an update on the steps the health care system is taking to expand their capacity for surges due to COVID-19.
CHANGES IN PLACE AT HEALTHLINE 811
In addition to the latest numbers, the province has announced a few changes to the tools available to the public during the pandemic.
They announced they have acted on addressing the technical difficulties with HealthLine 811. They report the system was replaced March 17 with a system that expanded capacity from 32 calls to over 900, along with a callback feature.
Over 250 additional staff are trained to receive calls on the expanded system, and almost 50,000 calls has been received.