Here are some highlights from today’s COVID-19 news conference in Regina:
Concerns about the pandemic situation south of the border were clearly evident in Premier Scott Moe’s remarks to reporters Thursday.
There are now 98 active cases in the province, but when not counting two localized outbreaks in the northwest and southwest, that number goes down to 12 active cases.
Moe said he knows people are asking “why can’t we just remove all the restrictions and guidelines and get everything back to normal?”
“Trust me when I say I would like to do that as much as anyone. But it is just not realistic because the spread of COVID-19 has not disappeared.”
He pointed to new case numbers south of the border that have “spiked to record highs in places like Florida, in Arizona, and in Texas.”
Premier Moe noted in Saskatchewan businesses were open and people could visit the beaches and playgrounds. “We shouldn’t be scared or worried to do any of these things at any point but we still have to do things a little differently.”
He likened the situation to wearing a life jacket when going out on the water fishing, and said physical distancing and good personal hygiene habits are the same thing.
“They are your life jacket when going about your everyday life,” said Moe. He urged people to continue those good personal habits, which he said would avoid the kind of spreads seen in Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Premier Moe had no new Phase 4 re-opening announcements to make Thursday but did say he would have a further announcement next week on opening dates for the rest of Phase 4. That includes indoor pools, indoor rinks, casinos, and bingo halls.
Dr. Saqib Shahab provided some more information on case numbers and noted the effective reproductive number had gone back up over 1.0 in the North and has gone up in the Central and South. But overall the number for the province was still below 1.0.
Still, Dr. Shahab said every outbreak was a reminder that COVID-19 was “here and is around and can come back very quickly if we give up social distancing (and) practising all the things we have been practising.”