With Saskatchewan generally experiencing a declining trend in confirmed cases and hospitalizations, the public health order is being amended to ensure residents who continue to observe all public health measures can extend their household ‘bubbles’.

Effective Tuesday, March 9, individual households may create a ‘bubble’ up to a maximum of 10 individuals in a home at any one time.

– The 10 individuals should be from two to three consistent households. The total number in the gathering cannot be more than 10.

– You must be consistent in your household bubble: the bubble of 10 is always the same individuals, from the same households. You may not join multiple bubbles.

– Assess the overall risk of COVID-19 before joining households. Does this household have a senior at elevated risk? Children attending school? Adults working outside of the home in essential workplaces? Can you still count all the potential contacts household makes, in the event a contact investigation must be done? If the risk of potential transmission remains high, consider another household or remaining within your household.

– If you are 50 years old or greater, consider keeping your contacts to your household only until you are able to be vaccinated.

You must still follow all public health guidelines when outside the home – including the limit of 10 people at outdoor gatherings – and plan to be vaccinated when you are eligible. Details on the current public health measures are available at  www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-measures.

Effective March 19, Worship Services to Expand Safely
Starting March 19, Reopen Saskatchewan guidelines for worship services will be permitted up to 30 per cent of capacity or 150 attendees, whichever is the lesser. All existing public health guidance remains in effect.

– Attendees must maintain two metres of physical distancing unless they are part of the same household group.

– All masking protocols remain in place. All attendees and choirs/performers must be masked throughout the service. Only clergy may remove their mask while officiating but must maintain three metres physical distance from all other attendees while mask is removed.

– No food or drink may be served.

– These guidelines do not apply to receptions or non-ceremonial gatherings.

Worship service guidelines are available at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan/guidelines/places-of-worship-guidelines.

Vaccines Reported
An additional 736 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 93,512.

The 736 doses of COVID-19 vaccine reported today were administered in the following regions: Northwest (479), North Central (165) and Saskatoon (92).

For a listing of first and second doses in Saskatchewan administered by geographic zone, visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine-update.

Saskatchewan’s first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine (15,500 doses) arrived earlier today. Administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to commence in the coming days at a drive-thru location in Regina for eligible groups including individuals between the ages of 60-64 and priority health care workers.

The Pfizer vaccine shipment for the week of March 8 is now arriving in Saskatchewan. Shipments for the Saskatoon (3,510 doses) and Regina (3,510 doses) areas are expected to be delivered today (March 9). Shipments for the North Battleford (4,680 doses), Yorkton (1,170 doses) and Prince Albert (1,170 doses) areas are expected tomorrow (March 10).

Daily COVID-19 Statistics
There are 113 new cases of COVID-19 to report in Saskatchewan March 9, bringing the provincial total to 29,918 cases.

One Saskatchewan resident who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. This death was reported in the 50-59 age group from the Northwest zone.

The new cases are located in the Far Northwest (4), Far Northeast (9), Northwest (9), North Central (4), Northeast (1), Saskatoon (37), Central East (4), Regina (30), Southwest (3), South Central (1) and Southeast (3) zones. Eight (8) cases are pending residence information. Three cases with pending residence information were assigned to the Far Northwest (1), North Central (1) and Regina (1) zones. One (1) case was found to be an out-of-province resident and removed from the counts.

There are a total of 28,104 recoveries and 1,414 cases are considered active. This is the lowest number of active cases since Nov. 11.

One hundred thirty-nine (139) people are in hospital. One hundred fourteen (114) people are receiving inpatient care: Far Northwest (2), Far Northeast (1), Northwest (12), North Central (8), Northeast (2), Saskatoon (44), Central East (3), Regina (39) and Southeast (3). Twenty-five people are in intensive care: North Central (2), Saskatoon (11), Central East (2) and Regina (10).

There were 1,874 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan March 8.

To date, 597,743 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan. As of March 7, 2021, when other provincial and national numbers were available, Saskatchewan’s per capita rate was 503,275 tests performed per million population. The national rate was 665,069 tests performed per million population.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is 141 (11.5 new cases per 100,000), the lowest seven-day average since Nov. 13. A chart comparing today’s average to data collected over the past several months is available on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Visit https://dashboard.saskatchewan.ca/health-wellness/covid-19/seven-day-average-of-new-covid-cases.

Further statistics on the total number of cases among healthcare workers, breakdowns of total cases by source of infection, age, sex and region, total tests to date and the per capita testing rate can be found on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/cases-and-risk-of-covid-19-in-saskatchewan.

RRPL Completes Initial Variant Survey
The Roy Romanow Provincial Lab (RRPL) has completed an initial survey of positive COVID-19 cases of individuals that initially tested positive during the period of Jan. 26 to Feb. 27. Of 190 cases sequenced for the variants, 35 were confirmed to be variants, including 28 in the Regina zone. Sequencing of positive cases for the initial survey began March 1 when RRPL began in-province whole genome sequencing and were reported to the Ministry of Health March 8.

The confirmation of 44 variant of concern cases present over the span of two months is an indication that variants of concern, particularly B.1.1.7 initially detected in the UK, are present in Saskatchewan and community transmission has been occurring over the last two months. This also indicates, while variant transmission has been occurring over the last two months, Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 data, including active cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, have continued to decline. Saskatchewan will continue to monitor for variants through targeted and randomized surveys of positive COVID-19 cases.

Note, as public health investigations proceed, variant of concern case locations may change due as residence locations are confirmed. The best protection against all COVID-19 variants remains the same as protection against COVID-19: stay home, physically distance, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask and get tested if you are experiencing even mild symptoms.

Find testing options near you at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/testing-information.

Enforcing Public Health Measures
Enforcement of public health orders is permitted under The Public Health Act, 1994. Public health inspectors will be supported in their efforts to ticket violators to ensure businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible, in addition to the enforcement efforts that have been undertaken by police agencies throughout the province.

For more information on the current public health measures or to see the Public Health Order, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-measures.

General COVID-19 Information
General public inquiries may be directed to COVID19@health.gov.sk.ca.