Sask. gov't provides Thursday afternoon update

As of March 19, Saskatchewan has four new, presumptive positive cases for COVID-19.  The provincial total for cases is now 20: 12 are presumptive positive and eight are now confirmed, following verification from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

Surveillance information on COVID-19 cases and testing is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.  Public health officials are completing contact investigations on all cases now.

Three of the four presumptive positive cases are related to travel and one is a close contact of a previously reported case.  Nineteen of the twenty cases are well enough to self-isolate at home at present; one presumptive positive case is in hospital for medical reasons not related to COVID-19.

On March 18, the Government of Saskatchewan implemented a number of measures to support social distancing and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

These include:

• Prohibiting public gatherings larger than 50 people are prohibited;

• Closing all gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls; and

• Limiting all restaurants, bars and event venues seating to 50 per cent of capacity or up to a maximum of fifty people, whichever is lesser and must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers.  Retail spaces including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are exempt from this policy but must have processes to maintain a one to two metre separation between customers.

The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to remove the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate in order to access leave.

Requesting written verification from physicians or HealthLine 811 is unnecessary and prevents these resources from being properly utilized at this time.  All workplaces and organizations should be implementing their business continuity plans or assessing the risk of exposure and transmission for their staff and clients and make operational decisions accordingly.

Self-Isolation

Self-isolation is required for 14 days after returning from travel outside Canada; for individuals who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19; and for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and well enough to stay at home.  Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where there is a potential to spread respiratory illness to others: work, school, sporting events, social, cultural and religious gatherings and public places such as restaurants and malls.  Avoid public transportation.  If a member of your household is self-isolating, they should make every effort to stay apart from the other members of that household.  This includes separate sleeping areas and bathrooms, if possible.

Maintain social distancing (one to two metres) with members of your household.  Do not share utensils, bedding, electronic devices, etc. and clean high-touch-shared surfaces frequently.  If you are sharing living space with someone who is self-isolating, you are required to self-monitor.  This means actively monitoring for symptoms including taking your temperature twice daily.  Be prepared to self-isolate immediately yourself if you develop a fever or cough.

Should I be tested?

The COVID-19 self-assessment tool is available online at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.  Use this application to assist you in determining whether to seek further medical direction.

Note that any use of the former URL will redirect residents to the new site.  Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca

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