'We're not really prepared to handle any sudden sort of outbreak': Beauval mayor

Beauval has its first known case of COVID-19. Locals are worried about how the small community might handle an outbreak.

Sask. community of less than 1,000 people has its first known COVID-19 case

The Village of Beauval, Sask., has its first known case of COVID-19, which has resulted in the local general store temporarily closing. (sweetmoon photography)

The small northern Saskatchewan village of Beauval has issued a warning after a case of COVID-19 was found in the community.

Beauval is approximately 450 kilometers north of Saskatoon.

In a news release, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) confirmed a person in the village tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday after developing symptoms.

The infected person works at the Beauval General Store, the only general store in the area. It has groceries, a gas station and a restaurant. It is now completely closed until the store can be sanitized and deemed safe to reopen to the public.

Beauval Mayor Nick Daigneault said the village has been preparing for this day for weeks and is ready roll out the plan.

"We've enacted our local EOC measures to prevent transmission ... and let people know you know you should be practising social distancing," he said. "We've also started reviewing operation plans at some of our local businesses including our store."

Daigneault said what they aren't ready for is a large-scale outbreak. He said they only have a medical clinic in the community and need a to create designated site where people can quarantine. Daigneault said they also need more test kits.

"It's a very small clinic with very limited staff. And as most communities are we're not really prepared to handle any sudden sort of outbreak," he said.

Daigneault said the village is enforcing strict physical distancing and hoping to build a temporary quarantine site for infected people.

Since late March, community members have been controlling the three main entry points to the town. Up until yesterday they were mostly reminding people about physical distancing. Now only people who live within Beauval are allowed to enter and when exiting they are asked about their travel.

Daigneault said the checkpoints are manned by volunteers and they are being equipped with PPE to help them stay safe.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority have issued a precautionary health advisory asking anyone who shopped at the store or purchased gas there between April 12 and April 27 to self-isolate until May 12 and monitor for symptoms. 

People who notice symptoms should contact HealthLine 811 or their community health centre.


Fiona Odlum

CBC Staffer

Fiona is a contributor at CBC Saskatchewan. She is from Winnipeg, Manitoba and that is where she started her broadcasting career over 15 years ago. Fiona has done everything from traffic reporting in a helicopter, to breaking news, anchoring and hosting talk radio across the country and telling weather stories.