As promised late last week, Premier Scott Moe has confirmed that the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be providing an in-depth briefing of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
At a news conference Monday, Moe said that briefing will "include a number of modelling scenarios on the impact of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan," and "it will include an overview of the SHA's surge capacity plans."
"The Saskatchewan Health Authority is providing this update because we feel it is important for the public to access the latest, most accurate information available. To ensure the public consistently has the latest information available, going forward the provincial authority will provide a provincial update each and every week."
Moe's comments came as Saskatchewan reported four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to bring the total cases to 253.
For the first time the province is now reporting active cases. Of the 253 total cases, 169 are considered active cases, which is down 10 cases from the previous day. While there are four new cases, there are 14 more people who have recovered for a total of 81.
"This means that for the first time since the arrival of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, the number of new recoveries has exceeded the number of confirmed cases," said Moe.
As well, the four new cases represent the lowest increase in new cases in the province in several days.
Four individuals are in hospital in the province for COVID-19: two are receiving inpatient care in Saskatoon, while two are in intensive care – one in Regina, one in Saskatoon.
No further deaths have been reported in the latest numbers; there have been three deaths from COVID-19 in the province.
Of the 253 cases: 112 cases are travellers, 77 are community contacts (mass gatherings included); 14 had no known exposures; and 50 are under investigation by local public health.
Overall 127 of the cases are from the Saskatoon area, 51 are from the Regina area, 47 from the north, 15 from the south, 10 from the central region and three are from the far north.
Dr. Saqib Shahab noted at the news conference that the high level of cases in the Saskatoon area were a combination of people attending a mass event or due to people returning from travel.
Dr. Shahab also noted many of the cases were those who went shopping. He reminded people to be "very thoughtful about who goes shopping and how frequently," and suggested only one person go shopping once a week.
He added grocery stores are "doing a lot of work to mimimize crowding and maintain social distancing, and we need to really support them to do that, and go at a time that's less busy and follow instructions."
Regarding the use of mask use, Dr. Shahab said there was a "limited value" of using masks in preventing droplets from trasmitting to surfaces. But he reiterated the primary thing people could do was stay at home as much as they can and do the physical distancing, and do good hand hygiene.
"All those other things -- physical distancing, not touching your eyes nose and mouth, do apply," said Dr. Shahab.
The age breakdown of cases Monday shows 11 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, 110 cases ages 20-44 age range; 89 are ages 45-64; and 43 are in the 65-plus range. The percentage of cases by gender is 53 per cent males and 47 per cent females.
To date there have been 14,178 COVID-19 tests performed in the province.