Saskatchewan has 34 new cases of COVID-19 to report Tuesday. These follow Monday's 48 cases — the largest increase in the province since late July.
Due to the rise of cases throughout the province, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab is amending the public health order on gathering sizes in homes.
As of Friday at 12:01 a.m. CST, the maximum amount of people allowed at private gatherings in a home will be 15.
Gatherings are becoming more of a COVID-19 risk as the weather cools, according to Shahab. The number of new cases that had contact with a known case or mass gatherings has increased to 70 per cent in the last week from 53 per cent in the first week of October.
"While community transmission has been relatively low in Saskatchewan, we are seeing how quickly and easily this can change," Shahab said at a news conference Tuesday.
Nine of the new cases are located in the north central zone, eight are in the Saskatoon area, four are in the central west zone and 11 are located in the Regina area. Two of the new cases have locations pending.
There have been 11 new recoveries.
Of the 2,174 total reported cases reported so far, 238 are considered active. As of Tuesday, nine people are in hospital, seven of which are receiving inpatient care. Four people are in hospital in Saskatoon, one in Regina, one in the north central region and one in the central east region.
One person is in intensive care in Regina and one person is in intensive care in Saskatoon.
Gathering sizes reduces
Shahab said contact tracing has been more difficult than usual because of the large numbers of contacts that people are having.
Public health is working to determine if the cases have links to known events or are new transmissions within the community.
Events at public venues will now be limited to 30 people. However, Shahab said there must be enough space for those people to maintain physical distance.
Shahab said the new gathering rules do not impact restaurants, licensed establishments and banquet halls, weddings, funerals or religious gatherings — each of which are required to follow seating and physical distance guidelines as described in the reopened plan.
"While nothing is 100 per cent safe, we have seen that for the most part restaurants, bars and gyms have not resulted in large transmission events," Shahab said.
Shahab is urging Saskatchewan residents to be more vigilant about monitoring their health.
"Even if you have a slight cough which is new and a headache and aches and pains, don't go to work. Stay home. And if they continue for a day or two, seek testing. I think those are the steps that most of us have been doing. But we just need to redouble our attention to these measures."
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