SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has declared an outbreak at Preston Park II Retirement Residence in Saskatoon after two of its residents tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

The residence is taking precautions such as limiting access to and from the building, and only allowing essential visitors inside, according to the company that owns and operates Preston Park II. 

Bruce Lillie, regional marketing director for All Seniors Care, said residents are being encouraged to stay in their suites. He said the home is doing in-suite meal service and has created an activity program to help keep residents active, healthy and engaged during this period of limited visitation.

Lillie said the neighbouring Preston Park I Retirement Residence is not affected, adding that family members and staff have been notified about the cases at Preston Park II.

Lillie said the two residents became aware they were carrying the virus after going to the hospital for unrelated reasons, and then found out while at the hospital. As a result, they’re currently in isolation at a hospital. The residence is working closely with the SHA and is following its advice on how to proceed, according to Lillie. 

Contact tracing is currently underway. 

“There may be independent housing units so we'll have to wait for some further information, and of course you know as all of us are out and about, whether it's shopping malls or food courts or other settings, the general risk level does go up, and that's why it's really important that we practice all the measures we do,” said Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. 

Shahab is reminding people to continue practicing physical distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask. 

It is unknown if these two cases are connected to a recent COVID-19 exposure at Market Mall in Saskatoon, which is just down the street from Preston Park II. 

On Wednesday, the SHA warned that a person or persons who tested positive for the virus went to the Market Mall food court on Sept. 24 between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and took Saskatoon Transit from Market Mall to Centre Mall while likely infectious. 

The SHA also warned of another exposure at Market Mall on Sept. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.