COVID-19 variant spread prompts Regina Public Schools to switch to remote learning

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Regina Public Schools says over the next two weeks it will transition students to remote learning over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 variants in and around the city.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed 156 variant cases provincewide, mostly in the Regina area, and most from the strain first detected in the United Kingdom known as B.1.1.7.

In addition to the confirmed cases, the province says there are 508 probable variant cases, with 434 found in and around the capital.

Meanwhile, new modelling shows Saskatchewan could see more people in intensive care under loosened restrictions around private gatherings while more infectious strains of COVID-19 spread.

The data was recently presented to physicians during a virtual town hall by the Saskatchewan Health Authority and posted publicly Friday.

The presentation depicts what-if scenarios for how the virus could spread under different levels of public interaction, and with more infectious COVID-19 variants in the community.

The modelling shows that if people continue with their current behaviour and there is a rise in private gatherings while variants spread, there could be 140 people in ICUs near the end of May.

There are currently 27 people in intensive care across the province out of the 133 patients in hospital.

By comparison, the modelling shows the number of patients in intensive care could be much lower this spring if more people work from home and there are no private indoor gatherings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2021

The Canadian Press