Risk of COVID-19 still low in Sask; 52 people tested

Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer gave an update on the expanded testing the province is conducting for COVID-19.

There are still no positive cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. The province has tested 52 people so far with 45 of them coming back negative and the remainder of the tests are pending.

Dr. Saqib Shahab stressed again that the risk COVID-19 poses to the province is very low, but with the increased amount of cases globally, more testing will be done to people who have returned from infected countries.

According to Shahab, the tests have been self-induced by the patients after they monitored their symptoms over a 2-week period.

“The province is monitoring people who have been travelling from the high risk areas, China, and Iran, but the rest is really up to the person to make the first call,” said Shahab. “So far, people have been making those calls.”

Shahab said that, instead of panicking, people need to start thinking about how they would support themselves and their families if they were placed into a 2-week home isolation because most cases globally have been cured by simply staying at home until they get better.

Shahab addressed recent concerns that COVID-19 has made it’s way to Saskatchewan by saying that there are 7 different types of coronaviruses that include the common cold and flu.

“A coronavirus positive test result could mean that you just have the common cold,” said Shahab. “There’s been some concern that people have had tests that were coronavirus positive, that’s not COVID-19, that’s just the common cold.”

Shahab said that stockpiling up on hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks isn’t any more helpful than just simply practicing routine hygiene.

“We say wash your hands often, and when you’re out and about, don’t touch your face. The most common way of transmitting disease is touching a surface and then touching your face,” said Shahab. “Handwashing is still the best way, but if you can’t wash your hands, then use a hand sanitizer.”

“Even if we were to have an outbreak in Saskatchewan, we would not recommend that the public wear masks or gloves while they’re out and about.”

Shahab added that in the case of any possible outbreak in Saskatchewan, the health system is prepared to provide the necessary care to patients in need.

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