For the first time since the pandemic began, Saskatchewan leads the provinces and territories with the highest rate of active COVID-19 in the country.
As of Tuesday evening, Health Canada’s dashboard showed the rate of active COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan (home to about 1.1 million people) was 319 per 100,000 population.
Alberta, which was tied with Saskatchewan on Monday with 318 cases per 100,000 population, dropped down to 302. Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario were at 282, 226 and 207, respectively.
On Tuesday afternoon, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab announced the province’s public health orders to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus — which were set to expire Friday — will remain in place for two more weeks.
Private indoor gatherings remain limited to immediate households (with exceptions for those living alone and support services). Outdoors, up to five people can congregate, distancing appropriately.
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Businesses, restaurants and personal services are to operate at significantly reduced capacity. Venues, from theatres to places of worship, are capped at 30 people.
Coronavirus: Saskatchewan extends public health restrictions for two weeks
Saskatchewan’s seven-day average of new cases hit 321 on Tuesday, marking the highest transmission the province has see to date.
Shahab called the rise concerning, attributing it largely to people breaking the rules in recent weeks.
“We’re seeing the outcomes of primarily gatherings that happened over the holidays,” Shahab said.
Universal compliance is necessary to get the situation back under control, he said, and did not rule out the stricter measures other jurisdictions have already been introducing.
Saskatchewan needs to see a decline in case, “otherwise we could be in a critical situation,” Shahab said.
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