Saskatchewan stops liquor sales in La Loche to prevent spread of coronavirus

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Alcohol is no longer available for purchase in the northern community of La Loche after health officials say too many people are spreading the new coronavirus by drinking together.

“The reason we have a lot of spread is because people drink together, share smoke, drive together,” said Athabasca Health Authority medical officer of health Dr. Rim Zayed said in a statement to the community Thursday.

“It is mostly young people who know they have low risk factors but it is very harmful to others who are vulnerable. Some are admitted to hospitals and have been away from their families for a long time. “

The province stops all the sites of sale, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages at the request of the mayor of La Loche, Robert St. Pierre.

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On Thursday, Saint-Pierre informed Minister of Government Relations Lori Carr that the council of La Loche had adopted a recommendation banning alcohol.

After further consultations with the community and Aboriginal leaders, the government said it had decided to close all alcohol retailers as recommended.

On Saturday, the SLGA store and the private sale in La Loche will be closed for two weeks. Liquor stores in other parts of the province are considered an essential service and remain open.

The Department of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority say they will help people experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including a community-based alcohol addiction program.

Local addiction workers ask people to call 811 if they have withdrawal symptoms or 911 if they start hearing things that don’t exist, which is considered a fatal symptom of withdrawal alcoholic.

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The province’s COVID-19 epicenter remains in the far north of Saskatchewan, where 150 of its 184 cases are still active.

On Friday, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said most of the cases in the north involved young people and young adults.

This is reflected in provincial figures where cases among young people in the province’s demographic population are increasing sharply.

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On Saturday, those under 40 accounted for almost 50% of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan.

Youth aged 19 and under represent 13% of the province’s 553 cases, while those aged 20 to 35 represent 35% of the total number of cases.

Prime Minister Scott Moe on Friday urged northern youth to take the new coronavirus seriously.

“I would ask the young people of La Loche to take their personal responsibility very, very seriously,” said Moe. “And I would ask them to pay attention to the right physical distance, how to protect themselves not only themselves, but also to protect the elders and their families, the elders of their community that I know they love and cherish so much.”

Getting young people to understand the risks associated with COVID-19 is a provincial problem in many communities.

A large number of cases have been common among those under 44 for months.

In early April, the province launched targeted advertising campaigns for young people via Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to inform them about the new coronavirus.

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Aboriginal community in Saskatchewan “frustrated and angry” as it responds to a coronavirus outbreak

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“Especially around the age of 12 to 29, we have messages about preventative measures, such as hand washing and social distancing,” Shahab said on April 11.

“This underlines that we must all take care of ourselves, stay healthy, which protects us and those who are most vulnerable.”

The Prime Minister reiterated on Friday that the virus is not selective.

“It reminds us all in this province that if we lower our guard how quickly this virus will spread in our communities, whether you’re in La Loche, Estevan or Esterhazy,” said Moe. “It’s blind. “

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Health authorities warn against all international travel. Returning travelers are legally required to isolate themselves for 14 days, beginning on March 26, in case they develop symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus to other people. Some provinces and territories have also implemented recommendations or additional enforcement measures to ensure the self-isolation of people returning to the region.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and those with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and keeping two meters away from others if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage by Global News, click here.

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