Saskatchewan has reported 42 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 923.
This is the highest single day rise in cases since the virus arrived in Saskatchewan.
In a release, the province said of the new cases, 31 are in the south region, six are in the central region, four are in the Saskatoon area and one is in the north.
NEW CASES IN SOUTH WEST, WEST CENTRAL SASK.
Speaking Thursday, Warren Kaeding, the Saskatchewan Minister of Rural and Remote Health, said the vast majority of new cases are related to a growing outbreak in a number of Hutterite communities in south west and west central Saskatchewan.
Kaeding asked Saskatchewan residents in these areas to continue following all health and safety guidelines.
“We’d all hoped that we were through the most difficult phase of COVID-19, and with everything reopening, no one wants to take a step back, but there is now increased risk in south west and west central Saskatchewan,” Kaeding said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it is taking steps to mitigate risk in these areas, however it has not implemented as strict guidelines as were in place when outbreaks appeared in north west Saskatchewan.
Currently, the government is not planning on ramping up restrictions in the affected areas, but would consider it if cases and transmission continue to escalate.
“We’re going to monitor how this is unfolding,” said Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the SHA. “[We’re] certainly hoping that with some of the limitations we put in place in the southwest that we can go with the current limitations, but we wont preclude that we would take more if we deem them to be necessary.”
The SHA has ramped up their contact tracing in these areas, which helped reveal many of the new cases in the at-risk areas.
“Its not just testing those folks with symptoms, it’s going door to door and doing assessment with aggressive contact tracing,” said Livingstone.
“We learned from our experience up in La Loche, going door to door is much more successful, it allows us to identify cases early on, do aggressive contact tracing, so within 48 hours we have 90 per cent of contacts traced.”
There are currently 114 active cases. Three additional people recovered from the virus for a total of 794.
A total of 11 people are currently in hospital. Nine are in inpatient care, including seven in Saskatoon, one in the south and one in the north. Another two people are in intensive care; one in Saskatoon and one in the south.
Regionally, there are 339 cases in the far north, 204 are from the Saskatoon area, 121 are from the north, 85 are from Regina and 59 are from the central region.
There have been 321 cases in the 20 to 39 age range, 285 in the 40 to 59 age range, 161 in the 60 to 79 age range and 26 in the 80-plus age range; while 130 cases involve people aged 19-years or younger.
A total of 15 people have died from the virus in the province.
INCREASED TRANSMISSION RISK
Risk of COVID-19 transmission has increased in the south west and west central regions of the province, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
In a release, the SHA said it has identified additional people with COVID-19 in these areas, as a result of aggressive contact tracing.
While some of those who tested positive are linked to known trains of transmission, others have no known source of infection.
The SHA said this increased level of COVID-19 activity has increased risk of transmission to the public in these parts of Saskatchewan.
The following rural municipalities and areas have increased risk of transmission for the virus:
- Maple Creek (No. 111)
- Auvergne (No. 76)
- Biggar (No. 347)
- City of Swift Current
- Eagle Creek (No. 376)
- Grandview (No. 349)
- Harris (No. 316)
- Kellross (No. 247)
- Lac Pelletier (No. 107)
- Newcombe (No. 260)
- Perdue (No. 346)
- Pleasant Valley (No. 288)
- Prairiedale (No. 321)
- Tramping Lake (No. 380)
VISITS RESTRICTED FOR CYPRESS REGIONAL HOSPITAL, LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
The Saskatchewan Health Authority will be temporarily restricting visits to the Cypress Regional Hospital, as well as to long-term care homes located in areas where there is higher risk of getting COVID-19.
The SHA said in a news release Thursday that family members or support people will only be permitted to the hospital for compassionate reasons.
It said no other visits will be allowed, and the restrictions will be in place until further notice.
Confusion remains in B.C. on who can gather in restaurants under COVID-19 restrictions – Global News
The B.C. Restaurant and Food Association says a new set of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the provincial government has customers struggling to understand who they are allowed to dine with.
The association’s president Ian Tostenson says restaurants are trying to tell customers to use common sense and follow advice from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, but he says that advice has been unclear.
“There is a lot of confusion as to who can dine out as a result of the last couple of weeks with Dr. Henry,” Tostenson said Monday.
“The spirit of what Dr. Henry is saying is eat with people you trust, eat with people in your bubble. But if you try to define that too much it gets too hard.”
The provincial orders issued last week require diners to only eat with someone from their own household. If someone is single, they can eat with one or two other people who make up their pandemic bubble.
For example, three friends who are also married cannot all eat together at a restaurant. Another common mistake is parents cannot take their adult child and spouse for a meal at a restaurant if they live in separate households.
“For these two weeks we’re saying stick with your household bubble, and for some people that may mean one or two people who they have close contact with their pandemic bubble,” Henry said Monday.
The biggest challenge to uphold the order is enforcement.
Restaurants are being told not to ask diners whether they are following the rules. Instead, Henry is asking diners to know the rules themselves.
Christmas events put ‘on hold’ by pandemic
“It is not the restaurant’s responsibility to ask people who they live with, or where they are from,” Tostenson said.
“The more that we increase confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace the harder it is.”
There is growing concern from the province that British Columbians are trying to exploit loopholes in the order. The priority for the government is to crack down of social gatherings if that is in someone’s home or in a restaurant.
One thing enforcement can do is crack down on organized events in a restaurant like live music.
“There is a tendency to … see these like a speed limit and it says 80 (km/h), and maybe I can go 86. That’s not what these are,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday.
“These are provincial health orders to help us stop the spread of a virus that is harming our loved ones in long-term care and causing great disruption in our society, and these are the things we’re doing together to stop that.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
'We are on the verge of significant bankruptcies': Restaurants and pubs struggle under B.C.'s new restrictions – CTV News Vancouver
New measures introduced last Thursday by Dr. Bonnie Henry meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social interactions appear to be having the desired effect, to the detriment of businesses.
At a news conference on Nov. 19, Henry ordered B.C. residents to limit social gatherings to their immediate household, or a small pandemic bubble for those living alone.
“This applies in our homes, vacation rentals and in the community and in public venues, including those with less than 50 people in controlled settings,” Henry said.
She made no specific mention of restaurants or pubs, and Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association said there has been confusion about who can dine out.
“We haven’t seen the latest health order, it hasn’t been written from last week, so as far as we’re concerned, we’re telling people go to a restaurant but go to a restaurant in the spirit of hanging with people you trust in a small bubble,” Tostenson said.
Tostenson estimates over the last 10 days, restaurants have lost about 30-40 per cent of their pandemic sales as those who were confused by the orders chose to stay home.
Henry’s order was an expansion of a previous regional order that only applied in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. During prior news conferences, Henry made clear that while dining out was encouraged, people should only do it with their households.
On Monday, Henry clarified again that she wants British Columbians to spend the next two weeks only socializing in person with others from their household, or a bubble of one or two designated people for those who live alone. That applies to going to restaurants.
The restrictions are also hitting bars and pubs hard. Jeff Guignard with the Alliance of Beverage Licensees estimated business dropped by 50 per cent of pandemic levels.
“So you have people who are down to 25 per cent of where they were in 2019 and that’s just not sustainable. We’re on the verge of significant bankruptcies right now,” he said.
Restrictions are scheduled tin place until Dec. 7.
Here are all the events that are affected by the new COVID-19 orders in B.C. – BC News – Castanet.net
Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a host of new restrictions in the wake of surging cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province.
B.C.’s top doctor stated that all British Columbians are ordered to stop any non-essential travel outside of their respective health regions until Dec. 7. Several other indoor activities will be put on hold, as well as all community-based gatherings.
Today, Henry clarified what events and gatherings must be postponed under the new order during the daily COVID-19 news briefing. She underscored that all events are postponed, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. That said, these events aren’t cancelled, but “on pause.”
She added that many of the province’s beloved Christmas and holiday events will be postponed, too.
“If we are able to get into a place of control, then some of these lower-risk events may happen again,” said Henry. “But right now, we need to stop all of those opportunities for us to congregate, to go out and do things socially.”
Movie theatres have also been suspended, as well as events at bars and restaurants. However, bars and restaurants will remain open because they offer important ways to ensure that people get meals, explained Henry.
Art galleries are permitted to have people browsing their collections on a daily basis as long as they have strict COVID-19 safety plans in place. But exhibition openings, larger gatherings and events at galleries must also be postponed.
What is considered an event?
In the updated public health order, “event” refers to anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis. All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order are temporarily suspended.
The following events are not permitted under the new health order:
- a gathering in vacation accommodation
- a private residence
- banquet hall or another place
- a party
- worship service
- ceremony or celebration of any type
- wedding (unless fewer than 10 people)
- funeral (unless fewer than 10 people)
- celebration of life (unless fewer than 10 people)
- musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance
- live band performance, disc jockey performance
- strip dancing
- comedic act
- art show
- magic show
- puppet show
- fashion show
- book signing
- educational presentation (except in a school or post-secondary educational institution)
- fundraising benefit
- sporting or other physical activity
- market or fair, including a trade fair, agricultural fair, seasonal fair or episodic indoor event that has as its primary purpose the sale of merchandise or services e.g. Christmas craft markets, home shows, antique fairs and the like and for certainty includes a gathering preceding or following another event.
Social gatherings and events
No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:
- Do not invite friends or extended family to your household
- Do not host gathering outdoors
- Do not gather in your backyard
- Do not have playdates for children
All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. For example:
- Musical or theatre performances
- Seasonal activities
- Silent auctions
The order is in effect from Nov. 19 at midnight to Dec. 7 at midnight.
Earlier today, Henry announced 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 in the province over three days, as well as 17 fatalities.
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