COVID-19 updates for Saskatoon and area for Friday, April 3
SASKATOON -- Check back throughout the day for the latest on COVID-19 in Saskatoon and area.
If you're concerned you might be infected with COVID-19, the Saskatchewan COVID-19 self assessment tool is a helpful resource.
Keeping staff, customers safe
As the COVID-19 pandemic proceeds, both essential and non-essential businesses have been taking measures to ensure both employees and customers are kept safe.
Owners of the Saskatoon-based grocery store Super fresh Asian Market have been ensuring that each employee is wearing a mask and rubber gloves.
“We wear it to make sure that everyone is safe, it keeps us employees protected and it also keeps everyone else safe as well,” said Michelle Wong, an employee at Super Fresh Asian Market.
Saskatoon continues lead in COVID-19 cases
Saskatoon continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases among Saskatchewan cities.
The province says 111 cases are from the Saskatoon area, while the Regina area has 45. Northern Saskatchewan has 42 cases, while the south has 10 and the central and far northern regions have a total of 12.
On Friday, Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said that historically more cases are likely when there have been more large group exposures.
“For example, the north had 42 cases, also has a high number of cases linked to an exposure event. Over time we expect to see the rates more or less stabilize.”
On Wednesday, the province said 24 known cases of the virus can be traced back to a snowmobile rally dinner in Christopher Lake.
Shahab has said higher numbers in Regina and Saskatoon are because of the larger population in those cities.
220 cases as of Friday
The province has announced 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, which brings the total number of cases to 220.
Twelve more people are known to have recovered from the virus, bringing the provincial total to 48.
Saskatoon is home 111 of the province's confirmed COVID-19 cases. Regina has 45, the second-highest concentration of known cases.
'Stress is not knowing what’s coming'
The head of the province's registered nurses union says the pandemic is creating a lot of uncertainty, and stress for health care workers.
“Will I have the personal protective equipment, and when I do need it is it going to be there? How many people am I going to be in charge of, am I going to be able to manage what’s in front of me, and am I going to be able to keep myself safe? Is my employer going to keep me safe, and in turn, am I going to be able to keep my family safe,” Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said.
Saskatoon Sikh community lends a hand
Over the last three days, volunteers with the World Sikh Aid Foundation in Saskatoon have been delivering food free of charge to people who can’t get out or afford to buy their own groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manny Sadhra, president of the local World Sikh Aid Foundation, said the response has been good, with deliveries going to five or six different houses each day.
“This time is very critical around the world,” he said.
Call for transparency
Saskatchewan’s information and privacy commissioner says he’d like to see “as much transparency as possible” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is a balancing act that must be done between public interest and privacy,” Privacy Commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski said in a release. “There is a big gap between giving no information and all information.”
A pair of pandemic pick-me-ups
Here are two little reminders that in spite of all the unexpected changes to daily life brought by COVID-19, it's still business as usual in many respects
The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo has welcomed two baby Mouflon Sheep; a boy and a girl.
According to the zoo, the lambs' mother — who is likely unaware she is rearing her young family in the midst of a pandemic — is "taking great care of them."
The zoo normally begins welcoming visitors on May 1, but season pass sales have been suspended until further notice in anticipation of a delayed opening date.
The lambs were born March 21, but the zoo waited to share the news.
What will the NHL playoffs looks like?
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the sports world, Mike Ciona checked in with TSN’s James Dincluding the National Hockey League. CTV Morning Live Saskatoon’s uthie to learn more about the state of the game.
"I don’t think any of us really know where this thing is going and maybe by the end of June we’ll have a better handle on whether playing hockey in August or September is realistic," Duthie says.
Saskatoon police ask people to comply with health orders
On the heels of the rollout of a provincial "tipline" for Saskatchewan residents to report people or businesses they believe to be violating COVID-19-related public health orders, Saskatoon's police chief took to social media to encourage everyone to do their part by following the rules
"You can help us by understanding what the law is, you can help us by voluntarily complying, by making sure everyone in your household does as well," Police Chief Troy Cooper said in a video posted Friday.
Bridge project resumes Monday
The Sid Buckwold Bridge northbound lanes heading into downtown, including the First Avenue ramp, will close Monday for the final phase of the bridge rehabilitation project.
The left turn onto 20th Street from Idylwyld Drive northbound will not be permitted, however a U-turn will be in place at Auditorium Avenue, the city said in a news release.
Sask. physical distancing data Google
A new report from Google provides some insight into how people in the province are responding to physical distancing measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report used data from users who have opted to turn their location history on when using Google smartphone apps. The same data is how Google Maps is able to estimate the busiest times at destinations.
The Google report shows significant drops in foot traffic for retail locations and workplaces, starting in mid-March, which coincides with when physical distancing measures began being put in place. Perhaps not unexpectedly the report shows an uptick in time spent at home.
On Thursday the province said Saskatchewan has 13 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total to 206.
Saskatoon currently has the highest concentration cases in the province with 103, followed by 44 in the Regina area. Four people are in hospital due to the virus.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it is working on a process to help physicians make hard decisions if the number of COVID-19 cases overwhelms the system and demand for life-saving ventilators exceeds supply.
However, during Thursday's provincial COVID-19 update it was emphasized that this is a planning measure, and if Saskatchewan residents stay vigilant when it comes to physical distancing, the province can avoid the devastation seen in other parts of the world.
The Park Town Hotel is one of many Saskatoon hotels offering discounted rooms for healthcare workers and travellers looking to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Somebody had to step up and get going with this,” general manager Salil Kulkarni said.
The John Howard Society of Saskatchewan is urging the province to quickly implement measures to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 in prisons.
“Inmates are asking for the means to protect themselves and their communities. We are asking the government to give them a fighting chance,” said Pierre Hawkins, public legal counsel with the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan.
On Thursday, the SHA announced the suspension of parking fees at all its facilities in the province during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visitors are still not permitted in any SHA operated hospitals, clinics, community and continuing care facilities, except for compassionate reasons.