COVID-19 in Saskatchewan: Chief Medical Officer of Health urges residents to keep virtual households small

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Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Saqib Shahab, is warning residents to keep their virtual homes small as people return to school.Shahab suggested that people should keep their contacts close – anyone they are within two meters of, not including in a classroom – around 10 people.

“We should be able to count our close contacts on the fingers of our hands,” Shahab said during the COVID-19 government update on Friday.

Saskatchewan has the lowest rate of active cases in western Canada, Shahab said. He noted that as of Aug. 22, Saskatchewan’s effective reproduction index was 0.7, meaning that each person with COVID-19 infects less than one other person on average.

Shahab also said there were less than five active cases with an unknown source of exposure.

“Schools reflect community transmission,” Shahab said. “So if your community transmission is high, it increases the likelihood of a case or cluster in a school. So the fact that we have low community transmission is the most important thing we can do to minimize the risk of a case or cluster occurring. at school. “

“It’s an extraordinary year for the children”

Shahab said he expects there will be occasional clusters in schools, but outbreaks will be less common in schools than in workplaces.

Teachers and school staff will have priority access to testing before and during the school year, he said.

“We know this is an amazing year for children, families and school staff,” Shahab said.

“We all have to understand as parents, as children in school, as staff, that this will be a year when children will have to stay at home several times a year. ”

He said if a child tested positive, contact tracing would not include the whole class, only “close contacts”, which he defined as “individuals within two meters of distance for an extended period of time. All day long”.

There were 44 active cases of COVID-19 in the province as of Friday. (CBC News)

Saskatchewan reported two new cases of COVID-19 and 16 new cases of recovery on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 44.

One of the new cases is in the Saskatoon area and one in the western part of the far north.

The province indicates that 20 of the 44 active cases are in community living settings.

There has been no change in the number of hospitalizations since Thursday, with three hospitalizations reported. Two people are in intensive care and one person is in hospital care, all in Saskatoon.

Since reporting began, 1,611 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the province.

There have been 24 COVID-19-related deaths in the province.

The government says 1,561 tests were carried out in the province on Thursday. Everyone is eligible to receive a test, even if they are asymptomatic.

Driving test plans

There is no date set for the availability of drive-thru testing, but Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said the authority is working on securing drive-through testing sites and is considering ” Incorporate drive-thru tests at existing sites.

The health authority is working to process up to 4,000 tests per day.

The government says 1,561 tests were carried out in the province on Thursday.

The health authority hired more staff and purchased new equipment to meet demand. Livingstone said if testing capacity were to increase further, the health authority could cancel some tests done for other conditions, as was done at the start of the pandemic.

“Right now, from a demand perspective, whatever happens to us, we meet that demand,” Livingstone said.

Everyone is eligible to receive a test, even if they are asymptomatic.

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