Saskatchewan

COVID-19 in Sask: 4 more cases in La Loche area reported Monday

Four new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Saskatchewan Monday, bringing the total number of known cases to 568 since the virus was first detected in the province in March.

Far north region, including outbreak in La Loche area, now has 151 active cases

There were four new cases of COVID-19 announced in Saskatchewan on Monday. All of them are in the La Loche area. The province says 579 tests were processed on Sunday. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

The rate of COVID-19 transmission in the La Loche area is more than double other communities in Saskatchewan, according to the province's top doctor.

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, said Monday that the effective reproductive number (Rt) in the La Loche area is hovering around 2. It's around 0.74 elsewhere.

"[The Rt in La Loche] is very similar to where it was in the rest of the province, earlier on, around March," Shahab said.

"As long as outbreaks are confined to a specific geographical area and managed ... the hope is that as outbreaks settle down, it will bring the provincial reproductive number lower as well."

A rate of transmission above one is considered the "tipping point" in favour of the virus. 

An Rt of two means a person infected with COVID-19 would be expected to infect two other people, on average.

Four new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of known cases to 568 since the virus was first detected in the province in March.

There are 199 known active cases as of Monday, with the majority in the far north (151) and north (33) regions. All four cases announced Monday are in the village of La Loche, in the far north region.

Four cases of COVID-19 were announced in Saskatchewan on Monday. All of the cases are in the La Loche area, in the far north region. That region has 151 active cases. (CBC)

A significant number of cases in La Loche have been contact-traced to previous cases, Shahab said.

About a quarter of the overall cases in the far north region have recovered so far, he said. Two weeks is the average recovery time for people with mild symptoms self-isolating at home. Repeat testing is not required for most cases, but some patients who have been hospitalized may require follow up testing.

There are 13 active cases in the Saskatoon area, one in the central region and one in the Regina area. There are no active cases in the south region.

"If we see cases popping up all over the province without any known link to a known case, that would be a very different thing," Shahab said.

There have been 138 cases traced to travel and 288 cases linked to community contacts or mass gatherings. Sixty-six (66) cases have no known exposure and 76 cases are still currently under investigation.

There have been 37,439 tests processed in the province so far, including 579 on Sunday. There have been 363 recoveries and six deaths recorded in the province.

Overall, 197 of the reported cases are from the far north, 163 are from the Saskatoon area, 105 are from the north, 76 are from the Regina area, 15 are from the south region and 12 are from the central region.

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