Saskatoon

COVID-19 in Sask: 1 new case reported Friday, hospital visitation to be expanded

The number of people receiving care in hospital dropped to four from six day-over-day.

Total number of cases reported in province now at 796

Saskatchewan Minister of Health Jim Reiter says visitation guidelines for SHA facilities will be expanded as of July 7. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A total of 796 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in Saskatchewan. 

On Friday, the government reported a single new case in its daily update. That case was located in the province's far north.

Of the province's almost 800 cases, 71 are still considered active and 711 cases are considered recovered.  

The number of people receiving care in hospital also dropped slightly day-over-day, with four people in care on Friday, three of which are in intensive care. On Thursday, six people were listed as being in hospital. 

Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab noted Friday that there have been four cases in the Prince Albert area in the past week, adding that the cases are not linked.  

"When you see cases in a certain geographic area that are not linked to one another that's always a flag," he said.

"That shows that there is ongoing community transmission that is now emerging."  

Visiting guidelines expanding

The government also announced it will be expanding visitation guidelines for Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities, including acute and long-term care homes, starting July 7.

The expanded visitation guidelines will see two family members identified to support, meaning they can visit their loved-on in hospital, but only one at a time. 

However, for critical care patients, those receiving palliative care and those receiving care in the Maternal Services Unit, two people can be present at one time if physical distancing can be maintained. 

"We made several changes early in the pandemic event in order to protect our most at-risk populations, including visitation restrictions, staff and visitor health checks at point of entry, and continuous masking in health care settings," said Health Minister Jim Reiter in a news release.

"As we see more of our economy reopening and additional health services resuming, we will take the same careful, safe approach to expanding family presence guidelines and ensuring that our loved ones in care continue to be protected remains our number one priority, while supporting the mental and emotional well-being of those in care."

Dr. Shahab said visitor guidelines could still be rolled back in certain areas if there are community outbreaks. 

"We need to still be very cautious, especially when we are visiting long-term care facilities or personal care homes because we know that even when COVID transmission is low, introduction of COVID-19 into those settings can have very significant consequences," said Shahab. 

Of the province's 796 cases, 165 are travel related. Four-hundred and seventy nine are considered community contacts or from mass gatherings. The number of cases with no known exposure is at 109. 

Forty-three cases remain under investigation by local public health bodies. 

Saskatchewan's far north accounts for a total of 335 cases, with 187 in Saskatoon, 118 in the north region, 80 from the Regina area, 64 from the south region and 12 from the central region. 

The number of deaths recorded in the province remains 14. On Thursday, the province announced a person in their 70s from the far north died after contracting the virus. 

A total of 67,791 COVID-19 tests have been conducted to date in the province. 

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