Saskatoon

4th person dies from COVID-19 in Saskatchewan

A Saskatchewan resident in their 60s is the province's fourth recorded death from COVID-19. 

The deceased is a victim in their 60s from Regina

An undated transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient. NIAID Integrated Research Facility. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

Saskatchewan has recorded its fourth death from COVID-19. 

The person is a Saskatchewan resident in their 60s who died from COVID-19-related complications, the province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said during a teleconference on Saturday.

The death came as the province announced four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 289 cases. 

Dr. Shahab noted that the other three deaths involved two people in their 70s and one person older than 80.

"This is a reminder that COVID-19 is a serious illness, especially in the elderly and those with underlying health conditions," Shahab said. 

"And while it may be a milder illness in those patients who are young, it is everyone's responsibility to minimize further transmission by physical distancing."

Premier Scott Moe expressed his condolences for the friends and family of the person who died, while noting the positive trend in the number of cases reported in the province.

There are 11 new recoveries, which means that for the first time over half of the confirmed cases in Saskatchewan have now recovered.

"Today reminds us both the risks of this deadly disease but also the difference that we can make through good physical distance and practices," Moe said.

Both Moe and Shahab said they're cautiously optimistic about the numbers and beginning to think about how restrictions will be lifted, though neither would provide a date or timeline for that. 

Of the 289 cases, the province said 126 are linked to travel, 106 are linked to contacts or mass gathering, 22 have no known exposure and 35 remain under investigation. Eight people are in hospital, including one who is receiving intensive care. 

Recoveries are listed at 147 and active cases make up 138 of the 289. 

30 cases in health-care workers

On Friday, the province said 30 of the cases were in health-care workers.

Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, said she wants the province to release more information about the health-care workers who are infected so health-care unions can start investigating if there were any shortfalls within the system. 

"We definitely need to keep an eye on those numbers," Zambory said. 

She said the province has not disclosed where the employees were working or what jobs they were doing due to concerns about privacy, but Zambory said this has meant she hasn't even been able to confirm if those infected were SUN members or not. 

"Healthcare workers need to be healthy. They need to be kept safe, because that's who everyone is relying on to look after them once they get into hospital." 

Zambory said SUN respects the privacy of employees within the health authority, the union feels some information could be released without jeopardizing a person's privacy.

At Saturday's teleconference, Dr. Shahab said the Saskatchewan Health Authority has taken several steps to protect health-care workers, including screening all staff before they go to work.

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