Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says the death of a person in the north region due to COVID-19 is a reminder that COVID-19 will be around in the province for a long time.
The individual, who was in their 60s, is the seventh person in the province to die from COVID-19.
“While it can impact everyone, it can impact those who are older who have underlying risk factors more severely,” he said.
Twenty-one more people have been diagnosed with the disease; 16 of the new cases are in the far north. Twenty-four more people have recovered.
Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone said he is not surprised by an increase in cases. He said as they expand testing criteria and the work being done on the ground in terms of risk assessment means this will be the new norm.
“I think people need to realize that this will be our norm for months,” said Livingstone.
“We will see days of one, we will see days of two, but we are going to see case numbers like this come up and down,” he added.
Livingstone added he thinks the good news is the case jump is in an area of the province where they are actively seeking and expanding testing and contract tracing.
The SHA also announced they will be expanding testing starting May 25 in an effort to have more tests available for all residents in Saskatchewan.
Currently, the testing guidelines require certain symptoms and scenarios to take place for someone to be tested for COVID-19. Starting May 25, the SHA will expand guidelines to ramp up testing numbers in the province.
New guidelines include testing being available to anyone working outside the home, for the homeless or those living in vulnerable settings, to all healthcare workers caring for immunocompromised patients and testing for immunocompromised asymptomatic individuals such as cancer patients.
Additionally, the new guidelines will open up mobile testing for anyone who desires a test in high volume work settings such as factories and industrial settings.