The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) now has the ability to do confirmatory testing for COVID-19. As a result, all of the new cases reported following March 21 will have already been confirmed and the province will no longer be reporting on presumptive cases.
This will also speed up the dissemination of results to physicians and individuals tested. Although some of the earlier presumptive positive cases that were sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are still awaiting confirmation, from now on the province will no longer have to wait for these confirmatory results. Regardless of whether a case is confirmed positive all presumptive cases must remain in self-isolation. The RRPL is processing about 456 COVID-19 tests a day.
As of March 21, Saskatchewan has 17 new positive cases and one presumptive positive case. The province now has 44 cases of COVID-19 in total: 25 cases are confirmed and 19 cases are presumptive.
All of the cases (confirmed and presumptive) were 20 years of age and older with the exception of one case, which is still under investigation. The largest percentage of these cases are male at 65 per cent while females make up 35 per cent.
Public health officials are continuing their contact investigation.
A reminder, on Friday, March 20, the chief medical health officer updated the public health order under The Public Health Act and new measures were put into place to further reduce the risk of potential COVID-19 transmission in the province.
The following measures are now in effect:
• Public gatherings of more than 25 people in one room are prohibited except where two-metre distancing between people can be maintained; workplace and meeting settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings; and retail locations (ie. grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations).
• The closure of all nightclubs, bars, lounges and similar facilities. Permitted is take out of alcohol or food products with two-metre distancing between customers and the delivery of alcohol or food products.
• In-person classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions both public and private are suspended.
• Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes, and group homes shall be restricted to family visiting for compassionate reasons.
• Effective immediately, all persons that have traveled internationally shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from date of arrival back into Canada.
• Health care workers who have traveled internationally, truckers, rail, airline or other working crews are exempt from this advisory only if they are required to work to maintain essential services, provide emergency health care services and maintain supply chain, and are supervised by Infection, Prevention Control Officers and/or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace.
• All persons who have been identified by a Medical Health Officer as a close contact of a person or persons with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19.
• All persons who have become symptomatic while on mandatory self-isolation shall call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives.
• All persons who are household members of a person having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 shall immediately go into mandatory self-isolation, call HealthLine 811 and follow HealthLine’s directives.
Effective March 23
• The closure of restaurants, food courts, cafeterias, cafes, bistros and similar facilities. Exceptions are take out with two-metre distancing between customers during pick-up; drive through food services; delivery of food products; soup kitchens, not-for-profit community and religious kitchens with two-metre distancing between tables.
• The closure of all recreational and entertainment facilities including fitness centers, casinos, bingo halls, arenas, curling rinks, swimming pools, galleries, theatres, museums and similar facilities.
• The closure of all personal service facilities including tattooists, hairdressers, barbers, acupuncturists, acupressurists, cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, relaxation masseuses, manicurists, pedicurists, suntanning parlours, facilities in which body piercing, bone grafting or scarification services and personal service facilities including massage therapists, except where urgently and medically necessary.
• The closure of dental, optometrist, chiropractic, registered massage therapy and podiatry clinics except for non-elective procedures.
• All daycare facilities are limited to maximum of eight children unless they can configure the facility so that a maximum of eight children are kept in room and be in accordance with the Saskatchewan child care guidelines for care.
• All daycares that are co-located with a long term care or personal care home that meet the above restriction shall be segregated with a private entrance so that there are no shared common areas with the home and no interaction between daycare children and residents of the facility.
Online Current information on self-isolation, personal protection measures and information for care providers is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
Use the online symptom self-assessment tool to determine if you should contact HealthLine 811.
Public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.