21 COVID-19 cases, some involving variants, tied to outdoor southwest Sask. event

·2 min read
Health Minister Paul Merriman said he was briefed on the situation but offered no details, citing the ongoing investigation by public health inspectors. (CBC - image credit)
Health Minister Paul Merriman said he was briefed on the situation but offered no details, citing the ongoing investigation by public health inspectors. (CBC - image credit)

Twenty-one people are infected with COVID-19, including some cases involving coronavirus variants of concern, following an outdoor gathering in southwest Saskatchewan that's been declared an outbreak, health officials say.

More testing is needed to verify which of the highly transmissible variants of concern is involved.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also warning people of a heightened risk of infection from coronavirus variants because of several large outdoor gatherings in the southwest area of the province.

The events "[failed] to comply with current public health measures," a Wednesday afternoon news release said, but the health authority did not provide any details about the event.

"We do not comment about specific enforcement investigations," a spokesperson for the SHA said.

The increased risk is present in Rosetown, Kindersley, Maple Creek, Swift Current, Davidson, Moose Jaw and surrounding areas, according to the health authority.

Those communities fall under five different zones monitored by health officials. Of those, the South Central 2 zone, which includes Moose Jaw and 14 other communities, has the largest COVID-19 caseload by far. The zone has 149 active cases of COVID-19, including eight announced on Wednesday.

<cite>(Government of Saskatchewan)</cite>
(Government of Saskatchewan)

The remaining communities fall under the Central West 1, Central West 2, South West 1 and South West 2 zones, which respectively reported 15, 14, 31 and 33 active cases on Wednesday.

Under current health rules, private and public outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people. The release reminded residents of those areas to, among other things, "limit gatherings and ensure gathering sizes do not exceed public health orders."

Health Minister Paul Merriman said he was briefed on the situation but did not offer details.

"We have to do our investigation," he said. "Like we do with any complaint or anything that is being investigated by our public health inspectors or the police, we want to do a … [complete] investigation on that."

CBC News has reached out the RCMP for more detail.