SASKATOON -- The Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan has banned public gatherings of over 250 people in any one room in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan.

This does not include settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, such as schools, universities or workplaces, the province said in a news release.

The Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed Saskatchewan’s second presumptive case of COVID-19.

Retail locations and faith-based organizations are exempt, but they should support safe social distancing and seek guidance from the local medical health officer if necessary.

In addition, people who have travelled outside the province in the previous 14 days or have acute repository or flu-like symptoms should avoid visiting long term care homes and hospitals.

The Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) plan to expand testing capacity for COVID-19, including the introduction of COVID-19 assessment sites over the coming days.

The SHA has also doubled the capacity of its 811 HealthLine after a four-fold increase in call volumes strained staffing resources and technological infrastructure.

The province is also implementing policies regarding government employee travel, as well as self-monitoring and self-isolation procedures:

  • Effective immediately, international travel (including the U.S.) for government employees on government business has been prohibited.
  • Any out-of-province travel for government employees on government business within Canada will be restricted and is subject to approval by the deputy minister to the premier.
  • Any government employees travelling internationally (including to the U.S.), or who plan to travel internationally for personal reasons will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada as a precaution.
  • All government employees who are experiencing symptoms of an acute respiratory or flu-like illness will be required to stay at home.

The Chief Medical Health Officer recommends all employers and individuals also adopt these measures.

All tours and public events at the Legislative Building are suspended and general public access to the Legislative Building will also be suspended.