The province announced 78 new cases of COVID-19 in the Saskatchewan on Saturday — the fourth consecutive day with a new case count over 60, and the eighth with a count over 50.
Saskatoon remains the hot spot in the province, with 41 new cases, followed by 18 in Regina.
Seven of the new cases announced Saturday are in the north central zone, six in the northeast, three in the northwest, two in the far northwest, and one in the central east zone.
There were also 81 recoveries announced in the province Saturday — the highest number reported for one day. That brings the total number of recoveries from COVID-19 to 2,380.
There are now 739 cases considered active in the province, out of a total 3,144 reported since the start of the pandemic.
The province says 29 people are now in hospital with COVID-19 — the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic started. That includes 23 people receiving in-patient care and six in intensive care.
More measures needed, says epidemiologist
Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Saskatchewan, said he thinks the government should put more measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
"Some measures went into place for bars and restaurants and nightclubs but I'm thinking that more needs to be done in order to contain the virus," Muhajarine said. "More specific targeted public health measures to contain and control the virus."
He said while the high recovery numbers are good thing, the focus should be on the spike in daily positive cases.
"The cases [are] steadily increasing. In fact, we have seen peaks that we have not seen before in Saskatchewan since the pandemic came here back in March," Muhajarine said.
He said he would like to see Saskatchewan adopt a colour coded system, similar to what Manitoba did.
Much like Winnipeg, Muhajarine said Saskatoon would likely be considered a "hot zone."
"Why is that important? So that we know where the virus is really active at the moment and what new measures we need to take," he said. "Even just to actually tell people if you don't have to go out, stay home until we get the numbers back down again so that you could safely go out and and carry on your business."
The province is reminding anyone celebrating Halloween to take part safely. People should consider gathering outdoors or virtually if possible, the province says, to avoid further case escalations connected to parties in private settings, bars and nightclubs.
The province issued advice targeted to young adults, saying they should not host large events that exceed the 15-person gathering limit for private gatherings. It also recommends keeping groups small if heading to a bar or nightclub for Halloween festivities. Pub crawls are strongly discouraged by the province for Halloween night.
Parents are advised to discourage their teens from attending or hosting Halloween parties that exceed the 15-person maximum. Parents are also encouraged to follow Halloween trick-or-treating guidelines set out by the province for their younger kids.
As of Friday night, new public health orders are now in effect for Saskatoon nightclubs.
Consumption of alcohol in Saskatoon nightclubs is now prohibited after 10 p.m., and clubs will have to close at 11 p.m.
All nightclubs in Saskatoon will have to adhere to the following guidelines:
Maximum of six patrons to a table or booth.
Maintain static seated groupings — no mingling among groups/tables.
Karaoke and dance floors remain prohibited.
Business owners and operators must ensure physical distancing within their establishments.
As outlined in the Re-open Saskatchewan Guidelines, mask use is required for staff. It is strongly encouraged for patrons until they are seated.
It is recommended that all bars and nightclubs take the names and contact information of all patrons to help in contact tracing in the event of possible transmission of the virus.