With at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Meadow Lake, residents are being asked to take extra precautions when it comes to keeping themselves and others healthy and safe.

“Cases are encroaching Meadow Lake and people have to increase vigilance in public spaces,” remarked a local health official who asked not be identified by name. “The province opening up Monday (Phase 1 of the Reopen Saskatchewan plan) may not apply to us now, as we might be on the increase.”

According to Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison, however, rumours of Meadow Lake not being able to take part in Phase 1 of the Reopen Saskatchewan plan are just that, rumours.

“Those rumours are not true,” Harrison told Northern Pride. “Phase 1 will proceed, but the Government of Saskatchewan will continue to review and monitor circumstances. In consultation with the chief medical health officer, we will make modifications to Reopen Saskatchewan as necessary.”

As reported by Northern Pride yesterday (May 2), Meadow Lake Co-op general manger Caralee Strome – in a letter to members and customers – confirmed an employee at the Meadow Lake Co-op Service Centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

“The employee reported symptoms and entered self-isolation early last week and sought COVID-19 testing shortly thereafter,” Strome noted in the letter. ‘When we learned the employee had received confirmation of COVID-19 this weekend, we temporarily shut down the Service Centre as we deep cleaned and sanitized the location. We also asked other team members who may have had contact with this individual to also self-isolate.”

Strome went on to say the Saskatchewan Health Authority has been contacted and the Co-op will continue to follow directions provided by the SHA.

“The health and safety of our employees and our customers is paramount as we provide essential goods and face this challenge together,” she continued. “We plan to reopen this location Tuesday (May 5) after deep cleaning and ensuring all employees who came in contact with their colleague are self-isolating.”

The efforts of the Co-op are being applauded by Meadow Lake mayor Merlin Seymour.

“The Meadow Lake Co-op and the team member have handled this in a very open and professional way,” Seymour said. “They closed the Service Centre immediately after being made are of the positive test. They are doing a full-scale clean and disinfecting the store today (Sunday) and Monday. The plan is to open Tuesday. Meanwhile, everyone must adhere to the rules set forth by the province and the chief medical officer. If you need to go out for essential requirements, follow and maintain the social distancing rules. If you or someone you know is showing symptoms, call the 811 HealthLine. If you don’t need to go out, stay home or go for a walk while maintaining social distancing.”

This was echoed by the aforementioned SHA representative.

“Despite our best efforts, there are still people not respecting social distancing or curbing gatherings,” the local health official noted. “We ask, if people have any symptoms of suspicion such as a cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, severe muscle pain or sore throat issues, they call 811 and then go to the assessment centre at the Civic Centre for testing. We are also doing contact tracing with all positive people from surrounding areas and informing contacts right away to protect others.”

by Phil Ambroziak