PA cluster still a concern; some updated re-opening guidelines

Here are some highlights from the news conference of Saskatchewan chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Thursday in Regina:

Among the newsworthy items were updated re-opening guidelines for a number of businesses in part two of Phase 4, as outlined in a news release from the province. The update covered temporary food vendors, racing and rodeos, banquet and conference facilities and car show and trade shows. Under development are new guidelines for door-to-door solicitation, garage sales and the donation of used items.

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As well, seating areas are now permitted at drive-ins, as well as at public and farmers markets. But physical distancing is being required and only members of the same group should be seated together.

There are also guidelines for summer camping at provincial parks. Visitors are asked to bring their own hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and maintain physical distance. A number of safety protocols have also been put in place at outdoor pools at the parks. Washroom access is being limited to one household at a time; campers are being encouraged to use the facilities in their trailers or recreational vehicles.

Effective July 16, live performances are permitted in restaurants and licensed establishments, as well as at public and farmers markets. Again, physical distancing is required, and dance floors and karaoke are not permitted at this time.

Dr. Shahab was asked several questions at the news conference about the situation in the Prince Albert area, where six apparently unconnected cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past several days. It was noted there were 100-plus contacts from that investigation; Dr. Shahab cited the importance of following up with testing and contact tracing.

“You certainly want to make sure we’re not missing the possibility that there’s community transmission,” said Dr. Shahab.

For those planning to go to PA, he said “by all means go, but just comply with those precautions about physical distancing, handwashing, not travelling when you’re sick.”

Dr. Shahab also acknowledged that some communities or businesses were “under the microscope” because of COVID-19. He urged people to “get over that now, because COVID(-19) is not an unusual emerging illness like it was in March.”

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