It’s been a tough couple of months for Meadow Lake and area, as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt within the community.

According to information available at the Government of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 Active Outbreaks site, 20 outbreaks (two or more active cases in one location) remain listed for the Far Northwest region as of March 3.

These outbreaks date back to Jan. 1 and include the Pierceland RCMP detachment and the La Loche homeless shelter, as well as several locations in Meadow Lake. These include Tiny Treasures Day Care, the Meadow Lake Hospital, two emergency shelter homes belonging to the North West Friendship Centre, Meadow Lake Properties, Gateway Middle School, RobWel Constructors, CIBC, Home Hardware, Meadow Lake Bridge Ministries Wake/Funeral, Shkopich Enviro, A&W, the Tolko OSB Mill, Extra Foods and the Nor’Wester Motor Inn.

“Anything we’ve done (at our store) we’ve posted on social media,” stated Wayne Marsh of Home Hardware Building Centre in Meadow Lake. “Our biggest concern is the health and safety of our employees and our community, and we’re making every effort to keep them safe.”

When more than one Home Hardware employee tested positive for COVID-19 last month, the employees were sent home to self-isolate, while extra hours were spent to thoroughly clean the store. The business also underwent a deep disinfecting process using a fogging machine.

“Our store has been following all health and safety guidelines,” Marsh added. “My concern is always about the safety of everyone… I just think I’m like everyone else where we want to see the end of this.”

In addition to the outbreaks the province has listed, individual cases of COVID-19 continue to be deemed active in Meadow Lake, Flying Dust First Nation and other surrounding communities. As such, the entire region, including Meadow Lake and area, is encouraged to remain mindful of what must be done to bring numbers down.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is warning Meadow Lake and area residents to be vigilant as COVID-19 cases increase and to ensure everyone is following public health measures and personal safety precautions,” noted a recent SHA news release. “Transition (in the Meadow Lake area) is almost eight times the average for the Northwest as a whole.”

With most transmission taking place through households and gatherings, the SHA is encouraging everyone to: limit indoor gatherings to immediate household only (people you live with); keep physical distancing (at least six feet or two metres) from outside your home, including at the workplace whenever possible; wear a face mask at all indoor spaces; wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when water and soap are not accessible; do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth or mask with unwashed hands; if you feel unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms, start self-isolating immediately and call 811 to arrange testing; when your turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine comes, get vaccinated.

by Phil Ambroziak