Saskatchewan announces 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19

The province of Saskatchewan has announced there are 14 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday.

That brings the total province-wide to 66 cases. Of those 65 are confirmed while only one case is presumptive positive.

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The regional breakdown is as follows: three cases in the north, seven confirmed and one presumptive in the central region, 30 in Saskatoon, five in the south and 20 in Regina.

Two cases are individuals in the 5-19 age category; all others are adults over 20. The breakdown of cases is 61-39 percent male-female.

A total of 5,269 COVID-19 tests have been performed to date by Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory. Additional demographic information is not available at this time, according to the news release..

At a news conference this afternoon, Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab said almost all of those new cases were travel related and the investigation is ongoing. He also said the testing capacity continues to keep pace.

"We are at a critical point now because most of our cases are still either travel related or related to large events," said Dr. Shahab. He continued to caution against large events and against any unneccessary travel, and to self-isolate when coming home from travel. He said it was very important not to travel, "otherwise the cycle would continue."

Dr. Shahab pointed to the importance of keeping up the physical distancing.

"If we can sustain this, we can keep our curve flat. But it has to be sustained, and we have to check in in two weeks for example to see how things are going. But I think this is a critical point for us because we still do not have any evidence of community ttransmission and we need to see for how long we sustain this absence of community transmission through all the things that all of us are doing collectively."   

Premier Scott Moe thanked the people of Saskatchewan who stayed home and followed the regulations. He referenced a number of previously-announced measures to close restaurants, food courts, recreational, personal services and dental offices. 

"This will end," said Moe. "Life will get back to normal. We don't know yet when that will be, and at this point we are still focused on doing eveything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19."

Premier Moe also said he would be joining a conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all other premiers on the pandemic Monday afternoon. One of the things the premier talked about was the importance of an alignment and unified message across the country regarding enforcement of restrictions.

He spoke of the need for aligning those restrictions so that it would be clear for all Canadians. He later added that to have a "patchwork" of regulations among various municipalities "doesn't advance that interest of providing that alignment of restrictions and regulations across the nation." 

"I cannot stress enough the importance of continuing collaboration between all of the provinces and the federal government as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic together."   

Also at the news conference Premier Moe spoke about the Business Response Team, which is being established to support businesses in the province dealing with the economic challenges resulting from the restrictions COVID-19.

"The Business Response Team led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, will work with the businesses to identify program supports that may be available to them both provincially as well as federally," Moe said.

"An email address and toll-free telephone number have been created to provide businesses with one single point of contact to help answer questions.  Businesses can contact the Business Response Team by calling 1-844-800-8688, or email supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca or by visiting www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses."

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