Mostly in Regina: Saskatchewan has 210 probable cases of COVID-19 variant cases

·2 min read

REGINA — Health officials are reporting more probable cases of COVID-19 variants in and around Saskatchewan's capital city.

The Ministry of Health says there are 210 presumed cases of more infectious strains of the novel coronavirus.

It says 185 of the probable cases are in and around Regina, including the 77 reported last week.

The presumed infections are in addition to the 70 confirmed cases of variants of concern, most of which were also found in the Regina area.

So far, Saskatchewan has mostly seen confirmed cases of the mutation known as B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom.

Health officials said last week that added public health measures would be brought in if the number of confirmed variant cases didn't start to decrease.

Regina residents 50 and older were warned last week not to see people outside of their household, despite the province recently lifting a ban to allow indoor gatherings of no more than 10 people.

On Monday, 110 new COVID-19 infections were reported across the province. There were 137 people in hospital, with 30 in intensive care.

People also lined up for hours at Saskatchewan's first drive-thru vaccination clinic in Regina. The Saskatchewan Health Authority said people had to wait between four to five hours for a shot.

One of the leaders behind the immunization campaign said the clinic, which opened at 8 a.m., was running at full capacity.

Laveena Tratch said about 500 people had received a shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by midday.

People were being immunized on a first-come, first-served basis and the health authority was planning to keep the clinic open until 11:30 p.m.

Sixty-four-year-olds were the only people allowed to get a shot at the drive-thru.

Tratch said the plan is for the clinic to keep operating throughout the week. She expects the health authority to drop the cutoff age, as it has for vaccine bookings.

As of Monday, anyone 70 and older could book an appointment for a vaccine either online or by phone.

So far, about 104,000 vaccinations have been completed provincewide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press