Regina has 77 more presumed variant cases; officials consider if more measures needed

·2 min read

REGINA — Health officials are reporting another 77 presumed cases of more contagious COVID-19 variants in Regina.

The Ministry of Health is asking residents 50 and older not to take advantage of a loosened public-health restriction that allows households to have guests.

There have already been 70 infectious variants confirmed in Saskatchewan, most of them the strain first detected in the United Kingdom.

Nearly all the cases have been in and around Regina, but they were not confirmed by a provincial lab until this week.

Officials say they are watching to see what happens over the next few days and are prepared to take additional public-health measures.

The province has reported 176 new COVID-19 infections, along with three additional deaths.

Many of the new cases are in and around Regina, which has 471 of the province's 1,437 active infections.

Starting Monday, people who are 64 years old can line up to get immunized against COVID-19 at the first vaccination drive-thru clinic in Regina.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says shots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, and the clinic will be open for about 12 hours.

Some health-care workers will be able to access the drive-thru for a shot on Sunday.

Health officials says doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be used.

A long-term care home in Regina said Friday that public health officials have declared an outbreak of COVID-19 there. An Extendicare spokeswoman said that, as of Tuesday, four residents and two staff members had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Laura Gallant said 95 per cent of Elmview residents have received the two required doses of vaccine. She said she couldn't reveal if the four who became ill were immunized, because that's private information.

"COVID-19 vaccines are a powerful tool to strengthen our defence against the virus," she wrote in a statement to The Canadian Press.

"Until mass vaccination is completed and broader immunity is achieved in the community, the virus will continue to circulate and potentially enter homes. We must remain vigilant and use every available precaution to prevent the virus from reaching residents."

Gallant noted almost 90 per cent of the care home's staff have been given one shot, and about half have received both.

For weeks now, she said, COVID-19 rapid testing has been used on anyone entering the home, and all residents and staff are being tested.

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

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press