COVID-19 Update: 14 new confirmed cases in Saskatchewan

Premier Scott Moe was joined by chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Monday to provide an update on COVID-19.

As of Monday, Saskatchewan has 14 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 66 in the province.

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“What we are trying to do in flattening the curve, in slowing the spread, is to not have everyone be exposed to it at the same time, so that we can manage the health services that we have,” said Moe during the press conference held Monday.

Shahab said almost all cases are still travel related. There is one case where Shahab is currently seeking more information to confirm there has been no community transmission.

“We are at a critical point now. We have seen and heard from throughout Saskatchewan how people are very responsibly practising staying home on self-isolation. I think if we can sustain this, we can keep our curve flat, but it has to be sustained,” said Shahab.

“We still do not have any evidence of community transmission, and we need to see how long we can sustain this absence of transmission through all of the things all of us are doing collectively,” he added.

Of the 66 cases, 65 are confirmed and one is presumptive positive. Two of the cases are individuals in the 5-19-year-old category, all others are adults.

Shahab said he is encouraging people not to visit others in person until there is further evidence of flattening the curve.

“I think this is the time to be really disciplined about that, because we really want to calm things down with any risk as much as we can,” Shahab said.

“These are unusual times. We need to balance the need of physical distancing with the need for human contact,” Shahab said.

Sixty-one per cent of the cases are males and 39 per cent are females. To date, 5,269 COVID-19 tests have been performed at the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.

Moe said for the last week he has been in touch with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in regard to the “cutting edge” work that is occurring at the University of Saskatchewan, primarily at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO).

Moe added that VIDO is the first lab in the country to have a vaccine candidate that they are currently testing. Researchers are expected to know in about four weeks if the vaccine works on animal models.

Trudeau announced $23 million in further support for VIDO. Moe said the announcement is a “critical investment in research that is occurring right here in Saskatchewan.”

“That will support that research and allow the lab to expand its bio manufacturing capacity to support clinical trials,” Moe said.

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