Despite the fact that numbers are trending lower, the Saskatchewan government is extending public health measures currently in place until March 19. Those restrictions were set to expire on Friday.
Premier Scott Moe made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon saying this is being done despite recent positive numbers.
“There is reason for optimism, but it is not reason to let our guard down.” Moe said. ‘What we are doing in Saskatchewan is working, but we need to keep doing it to ensure this trend continues for the foreseeable future which is why we have made the decision to extend the guidelines for four additional weeks.”
That was a statement echoed by provincial chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.
“Even though are case numbers are trending down, it is maybe just our second week of numbers consistently below 200.” Shahab said. ” The numbers are trending in the right direction, but we’ve seen how quickly they can reverse, not just in Saskatchewan, but in many other provinces. “We really need to stay the course at the moment until March 19 and then we will re-assess. We will see how the vaccine plan program is running and what needs to be done after that date.”
The announcement comes at the same time as the province lets us know that three more people in Saskatchewan have died as a result of COVID-19.
Numbers released Tuesday show one person in their 40’s and one aged 80 plus from the Far Northwest zone passed away as did someone in their 50’s from the northwest zone.
Of the 357 who have now passed away, 187 have been aged 80 plus, 124 have been between 60-79, 34 have been between 40-50 and 12 have been between the age of 20-39. No one under the age of 20 has died as a result of the virus.
There are 136 new cases of COVID-19 to report in Saskatchewan on February 16, bringing the provincial total to 26,829 cases.
The new cases are reported on February 15th and 16th are located in the Far North West (22), Far North Central (5), Far North East (10), North West (44), North Central (22), North East (17), Saskatoon (69), Central West (9), Central East (9), Regina (62), South Central (4) and South East (2) zones and four (4) new cases have pending residence information.
There were 264 recoveries meaning the active case count is now at 1,611 which is the lowest it has been since mid-November. The seven-day daily average is now at 167 or 13.6 new cases per 100,000 population.
184 people are in hospital with 20 of those getting intensive care.
There is also news on additional health care workers being added to Phase 1 priority sequencing for vaccines.
Those being added include:
- Individuals directly involved in delivering COVID-19 immunizations in Phase 2 including physicians (up to 2,600), pharmacists (up to 1,200) and other SHA health care providers involved in delivering COVID-19 immunizations;
- Anesthesia/operating rooms;
- All other critical care areas;
- Vaccination teams;
- Radiology technicians;
- Phlebotomy/lab workers handling COVID-19 specimens; and
- Home care (direct care providers).
The amended priority sequencing will add an estimated 11,500 people to the Phase 1 priority population sequencing and will not change Phase 2 of the vaccine delivery plan which will focus on the general population in 10 year increments, starting with ages 60 to 69. Phase 2 will continue to provide targeted access for adults and staff in group homes for persons with intellectual disabilities and shelters, and adults identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.
3,691 tests were processed in Saskatchewan over the last two days bringing the provincial total to 547,277.