Saskatoon

Agnes McDonald, 85, identified as sixth person to die from COVID-19 in Sask.

McDonald's daughter confirmed the identity on Thursday afternoon and said McDonald died as a result of COVID-19 in La Loche on April 28. She would have turned 86 in May.

Community leaders in the north offered their condolences to McDonald's family on Facebook

The north is mourning the loss of a second elder due to COVID-19. Agnes McDonald, 85, died from the virus in La Loche on April 28. (Chief Teddy Clark/Facebook.com)

Saskatchewan's sixth COVID-19 victim has been identified by her daughter as 85-year-old Agnes McDonald.

McDonald's daughter confirmed the death Thursday and said McDonald died as a result of COVID-19 in La Loche on April 28.

McDonald, who would have turned 86 in May, is the sixth COVID-19 death in the province and the second who was a long-term care patient in La Loche. On Sunday, 83-year-old Joseph Pierre Slyvester died from COVID-19 related complications.

In a Facebook post, leaders from the Clearwater River Dene Nation, La Loche and the Métis-Nation Saskatchewan offered their condolences to McDonald's family, as she was a well-known elder in the northern community.

La Loche Mayor Robert St.Pierre said it's critical for all northern residents to respect public health orders and recommendations in place.

"If we as a community don't start staying home and practice physical distancing, our numbers are just going to increase," he said. "We've had two deaths in the community with COVID-19 and we want to try and work toward having no more."

La Loche mayor Robert St Pierre says his community is proud, hopeful, and desperately in need of support. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

St. Pierre said that while people aren't gathering, there have been people out and about.

La Loche's long-term care facility was the first in the province to have an outbreak. Currently, there is one other patient within the facility who has tested positive for the virus, but an update posted on the local COVID-19 Facebook page said they are stable.

As of Thursday afternoon, the province has recorded a total of 389 COVID-19 cases in the province, with more than half of the province's 88 active cases (50) located in the far north.

Two-hundred and ninety five cases, roughly 75 per cent of all those reported so far, are listed as recovered.

The province has deployed additional resources to the community of La Loche and the far north region, which include the introduction of province-supported self-isolation units, drive-through testing, mobile testing and a GenXpert machine, which will increase the speed and volume of testing in the region.

St. Pierre said that while the province has put in place adequate resources now, the community would have been better prepared had the help come earlier.

"I don't know how it would have looked like, but I'm sure it would have been a lot better for us right now than what we're currently seeing," he said.

On Thursday, Premier Scott Moe said his government will continue to work closely with northern leaders. He announced further travel restrictions on the north in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

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