Two Saskatchewan residents have died from COVID-19 related complications.
The deaths were both recorded on Sunday in separate parts of the province and mark a grim milestone as the first fatalities from the novel coronavirus in Saskatchewan.
One of the deaths was related to travel and both hospital patients were in their 70s.
Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said the province will not release the regions in which deaths occur.
“It’s a very stressful time, a sad time for family, and we don’t want to do anything that would invade their privacy,” he said.
As of today, March 30, the province has 20 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 176.
Five patients remain in hospital across the province with one in the intensive care unit and four others in acute care.
One of those inpatient cases is in the Northern section of the province, which includes Prince Albert. The other three are in Saskatoon. An ICU case is located in Regina.
At least eight cases in the province are the result of local transmission and the remainder are either travel-related or cluster-related due to mass gatherings.
Five cases are individuals 19 years old and under, and the remainder are adults.
Eighty cases are people aged 20 to 44, 62 are from 45 to 64 years old. Twenty-nine cases are in the 65-plus age range.
Fifty five per cent of cases are males and 45 per cent are females. A total of 14 people have recovered from the virus.
The province says there may be more cases yet to be reported to Public Health. Up until today, 9,651 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan, up 565 from yesterday.
Premier Scott Moe said the increase in cases observed over the weekend reflects transmission that happened before measures like bans on large events were implemented across Saskatchewan.
“You’re seeing this weekend and into the next week some of the more final days before some of our restrictions came into place,” Moe said. “If you go back about 14, 15 days, it’s just prior to when our restrictions started to come into place here in the province.”
He says he hopes to see a flattening of the curve in the coming week as we start to see the effects of social distancing.
The Government of Saskatchewan is working to deploy additional staff across ministries to focus on critical areas.
There are supplemental resources required to help with contact tracing needs, call centres and public inquiries. The province is allocating as many resources as possible to tackle COVID-19.