COVID-19 in Sask: Roy Romanow provincial lab given goal of processing 1,500 COVID-19 tests per day by May
11 new cases in Sask. announced on Wednesday, 165 cases are considered active
Premier Scott Moe announced on Wednesday that the Saskatchewan government has tasked the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory with a goal of processing 1,500 COVID-19 tests per day by the end of the month.
The lab processed 900 tests on Tuesday, the most it had conducted in a single day. It is working to increase the capacity to 1,000 tests per day soon, Moe added, en route to the goal of 1,500.
"So far, our case numbers and our hospitalizations numbers have remained relatively low and somewhat manageable," the premier said, as the province announced 11 new cases.
Moe said the continuing to meet increased demand would be dependent on availability of testing supplies. Saskatchewan has tested at the second-highest rate per capita in Canada.
There have been 271 cases recorded in Saskatchewan to date, with 165 of them were active, as of April 8.
There are 165 active cases in Saskatchewan, with 119 linked to travel, 90 community contacts (mass gatherings included) and 16 with no known exposure. Another 46 cases are under investigation.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said contact tracing has been a key task in the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contact tracing is when health officials speak with who have COVID-19 and trace back their whereabouts and contacts over the prior 14-day period.
If someone with the virus had been in close contact with others during that time, the official tracing the information would then contact those, and so on and so forth.
It's especially important for cases such as large events, Shahab said, as one person had made 11 contacts at one event.
"We're able to isolate that and disallow that from spreading into the broader community," Moe said. "That comes from having the testing capacity and having the contact tracing in place."
Moe said contact tracing capacity has been increased and there are talks between the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine and the Saskatchewan Health Authority about having medical students assist in the process.
Some medical students are already working tracing contacts, the premier added.
Fifteen more people have recovered from the virus, bringing the number of recoveries up to 103. Government health officials have tested 15,621 since the novel coronavirus was first detected in the province.
Twenty-six cases are health care workers, though the government said not all cases are related to their health care work. Six people are in hospital, and two are in intensive care.
Saskatoon and area has the most cases with 135, as of Wednesday. There are 56 cases in the Regina area, 51 in the north, 15 in southern Saskatchewan (excluding Regina), 10 in central Saskatchewan and four cases in the far north of the province.
There have been no additional deaths from the virus. The total number of deaths remains three.