(Hau Dinh/The Associated Press - image credit)
Public health measures in Saskatchewan have been extended until at least March 19.
This means that indoor gatherings are still restricted to immediate household members only. People can still meet outside with up to 10 people, as long as physical distancing between households can be maintained.
All non-essential interprovincial travel is not recommended. Restrictions on sports, fitness, dance and places of worship will stay in place. Mandatory masking is still in effect.
"Our new case numbers have been trending in the right direction. For that, we thank the people of Saskatchewan," Premier Scott Moe said during a news conference Tuesday. "There is reason for optimism, but it's not reason for us to let our guard down."
Moe said it's important to keep following the measures so the downward trend continues. Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, said trends can quickly change.
"We've seen how quickly [trends] can reverse not just in Saskatchewan, but in many other provinces, and not just due to the existing COVID strains, but also due to rapid introduction of variants," Shahab said. "We really need to stay the course."
Shahab said that even with all the precautions in place, there may still be outbreaks when people are close together. He said people need to educate themselves on the restrictions, especially in restaurants.
"There are some comments about people not understanding the rules. You know, that's not acceptable. They've been there now for more than six to eight weeks," Shahab said.
Moe said people in Saskatchewan are fortunate when considering other provinces across the nation. He said there are opportunities to gather outdoors in small groups, young people are in school and residents can get a haircut, all thing some other provinces are not allowing right now.
"Is it perfect? No, it isn't perfect," Moe said. "What would I say to people as we extend these measures for another four weeks is we're in the final stretch. And I would say that there is some hope on the way."
Three deaths, 136 new cases announced Tuesday
The government also announced 136 new cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths Tuesday.
One of the people who died was in their 40s from the far northwest zone, one was in their 50s from the northwest zone and one was in the 80+ age group in the far northwest zone.
The province said 264 more people had recovered. As of Tuesday, there were 1,611 cases of COVID-19 considered active in Saskatchewan.
The province did not provide details for the case numbers on Monday due to the holiday. As a result, it provided the breakdown of cases for both Tuesday and Monday as follows, by zone:
Far northeast (10).
Far northwest (22).
Far north central (five).
North central (22).
Central west (nine).
Central east (nine).
Four new cases are pending location information. Six cases that were previously pending were assigned — one in the far northwest and five in the northwest.
Saskatchewan's seven-day new cases daily average is 167, or 13.6 per 100,000 people.
There were 184 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Sunday, with 20 of them in intensive care.
Tuesday's update said there were 22 vaccines distributed in Saskatchewan on Sunday. The province has now administered 49,841 doses of vaccine, or 107 per cent of vaccine doses on hand.
The province conducted 3,691 COVID-19 tests on Saturday.
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