Saskatchewan extends COVID-19 public health rules until Jan. 29

·2 min read

REGINA — Saskatchewan is extending the COVID-19 public-health rules it brought in over the holidays until at least the end of the month.

The Ministry of Health says the restrictions will be in place until Jan. 29.

The current rules include a ban on household visits and a limit of 10 on the number of people who can spend time together outside.

Team sports are not allowed, except for kids' practices, while restaurants, retailers and personal care services, including hair salons, must reduce their capacity. Casinos and bingo halls are also closed.

Health officials reported Tuesday 248 new cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of five more people, bringing the province's death toll from the pandemic to 204.

Six recent deaths were of people who lived at a long-term care home in Wakaw, Sask., a town roughly 100 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, where all 44 residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Lakeview Pioneer Lodge also reported that 40 of its 68 staff have contracted the virus. One resident remains in intensive care.

Across Saskatchewan, there were 29 people in intensive care out of 191 hospitalized with the virus.

Saskatchewan's Opposition NDP said the current public-health measures in the province are failing to contain the spread of COVID-19.

NDP Leader Ryan Meil called on Saskatchewan Party Premier Scott Moe to release more modelling data that shows where the province is headed in the pandemic.

"Continuing to do something that isn't working means more people will get sick and more people will die," Meili said.

On Tuesday morning, Saskatchewan was tied with Alberta for having the highest rate of active cases per capita in Canada.

The Ministry of Health also said that, to date, 22 personal and long-term care homes in the province have reported having cases of COVID-19.

Meili, who earlier called for non-essential businesses to close for several weeks to deal with the worsening spread of the novel coronavirus, said he believes a circuit-breaker remains a reasonable approach.

"We still have bars open," he said. "Is that something we're going to continue, to keep bars open and wind up closing schools?"

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press