COVID-19 in Sask: Community transmission in Prince Albert resulting in hospitalizations

Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, is advising people in the Prince Albert area to get tested for COVID-19 as cases pop up in the area.

1 person in their 20s died in the north region

A person in their 20s has died from COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, it was announced on Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, is asking that people in the Prince Albert area get tested after new cases of the COVID-19 virus were confirmed recently.

Shahab says there has been an increase of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the area, despite there being no increase in community numbers, which he says suggests people who may have symptoms are not getting tested.

"Because you need many cases to result in a hospitalization, this shows that there is a lack of testing happening in the P.A. area," Shahab said. "It appears that people are not coming forward for testing if they have mild symptoms."

Contact tracing allows people to isolate if they are infected until recovery and helps break the train of transmission, which is why getting tested is important, Shahab said. 

Shahab said there is a need for testing in the area, well above baseline testing levels. There is capacity for increased testing in the area, so even if people have had a headache or mild cough, they should consider getting tested, as should anyone displaying symptoms.

"We are seeing sporadic cases with no links to any other known case and some of them have resulted in hospitalization and what that means is there's ongoing community transmission," Shahab said.

Shahab also advised people in the area to wear masks and exercise physical distancing indoors.

Person in their 20s recorded as 15th death

Saskatchewan has recorded its 15th death from COVID-19 since March and it is a person from the north region who was in their 20s — the youngest person to die from the disease in the province.

Shahab declined to comment on the death but did say underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney dialysis and other conditions were present among the 15 deaths recorded so far. 

Although the death announced Tuesday was the youngest, Shahab noted the 20-39 age range made up the majority of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, at 283 as of Tuesday.

In terms of transmission and impact, Shahab said as more younger people contract and transmit the virus, the risk to vulnerable and older people becoming ill or dying from COVID-19 will increase.

"We continue to see an increasing number of cases in all age groups, especially young," Shahab said, adding that the novel coronavirus can be lethal for any age range.

There have been 154 cases of COVID-19 in people aged 60 and older so far in the province. Thirteen of the 15 deaths so far have been in people 60 or older. One person in their 50s has died from the disease, as well.

54 active cases

There were five recoveries announced on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recoveries up to 737. There was one new case announced in the Saskatoon area, a person who had been tested out of province.

There have been 806 cases recorded overall in Saskatchewan. There are currently 54 active cases in Saskatchewan. 

Thirty-three of those cases are in the far north region, seven in the north region, four in the Saskatoon area, one in the central region and nine in the southern region.

One death was announced. Five more recoveries were announced as well. There have been 737 recoveries since March and 806 cases overall. (CBC)

The province has conducted 70,294 tests so far. It processed an additional 404 tests on Monday. 

There are four people hospitalized from COVID-19. Three are in the north and one in the Saskatoon area. None of the patients are in the intensive care unit.

There have been 168 cases linked to travel, 482 are linked to contacts or mass gatherings, 113 have no known exposure and 43 remain under investigation.


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