Live COVID-19 updates for Saskatoon and area Tuesday, March 17
SASKATOON -- This is a developing story. Check back throughout the day for the latest on COVID-19 in Saskatoon and area.
6:20 p.m. - A frontline medical worker in Saskatoon says a limited supply of protective medical equipment in the province is endangering health care staff.
A Saskatchewan Health Authority memo obtained by CTV News, asks staff to request low quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to "extremely limited" inventory levels.
A nurse who CTV News spoke with said Saskatoon neo-natal nurses in particular, along with other "pockets" of frontline staff across the province, do not have adequate supplies of N95 respirator masks. The masks can be effective in blocking viruses if appropriately fitted and used correctly.
5:30 p.m. - Today Hudson's Bay announced it would be closing its locations across the country, including its Midtown Plaza store, for two weeks. In a note to customers, the retailer said that all employees will be paid for any scheduled shifts they will miss.
4:15 p.m. - During a news conference the City of Saskatoon's , director of emergency management operation Pamela Goulden McLeod said Essential services are being maintained, including waste collection, snow clearing and Saskatoon Transit.
"Our main goal in our Emergency Operations Centre is to continue to maintain those essential services for the health and wellbeing of our residents in Saskatoon. And that's what we'll continue to do," she told reporters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Saskatoon Police Service is making some services available only by phone, online or by appointment to reduce the number of people at its headquarters.
3:30 - The City of Saskatoon has called a news conference to provide a COVID-19-related update. The city's Director of Emergency Management Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Police Chief Troy Cooper and Fire Chief Morgan Hackl are expected to speak.
3:00 - The director of the Saskatoon-based lab where researchers are working to create COVID-19 a vaccine met with Canada's minister of science Navdeep Bains and Canada's Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer.
VIDO-InterVac CEO Volker Gerdts met with Bains and Nemer via videoconference from Saskatoon.
2:32 p.m. - The province announced an eighth presumptive case of COVID-19, a person in their 50s who was tested in Regina following a trip to Vancouver. The person is self-isolating at home.
2:05 p.m. - The Saskatchewan Health Authority is prepared to make difficult decisions about delaying or deferring medical care when it is safe to do so, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Shaw says.
“We do know that some physician offices have been working with their patients that have been awaiting surgery and have been making the decisions with their patients to delay their surgery until they think it’s a more appropriate time,” she said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
1:08 p.m. - The province has announced it will delay its full budget in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, instead releasing a "scaled down" spending plan.
“The budget estimates will contain spending increases in most areas, including a significant increase in health funding,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said.
12:50 p.m - In a news release, NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Saskatchewan should strengthen the ban on public gatherings, allowing no more than 50 people in one place.
"As things change so quickly, we need to have a government that’s responding quickly as well. The time to act is now," Meili said in the release.
Meili also wants the province to provide support to people who need to miss work in the wake of school closures because they don't have childcare.
11:47a.m. - The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the province to shut down school-based daycares, but many home daycares are still operating in Saskatoon.
The daycares CTV News spoke to, including the YMCA and many church-based facilities, said they will continue to run – until the government announces otherwise.
11:21 a.m. - Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is urging Saskatoon residents to donate blood despite the COVID-19 outbreak after a spike in cancellations.
"The need for blood continues even in these uncertain times, and we want to remind the public about that. We will continue to keep our doors open," associate director of donor relations Jennifer Dareichuk said.
CBS is enhancing its cleaning protocols at donation sites and COVID-19 can't be contracted through a blood transfusion, she said.
10:30 a.m. - Those looking to tip a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day in Saskatoon will have to do it at home.
Leopold’s, Hudsons, Winstons and O’Shea’s are normally are packed on March 17 but instead will remain empty.
9:46 a.m. - The YMCA of Saskatoon has announced it is closing. The organization's daycare will continue operating. All other programs have ceased. The YMCA Martensville Child Development Centre will be closed as of Friday.
CORRECTION: We previously indicated the downtown daycare centre would be affected, it will remain open.
9:30 a.m. - Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs says it has trained over 60 people in WHIMIS (the safe handling of chemicals) to send to its communities for professional sanitation of all major public buildings.
8:43 a.m. - All movie theatres in the city are closed. Cineplex, Landmark Cinemas, the Broadway Theatre and Magic Lantern Theatres, which operates the Roxy Theatre and Rainbow Cinemas, have announced closures.
8:20 a.m. - Popular music venue Amigos Cantina says it is closing its doors starting today in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're in this together, so let's all make solid decisions now so that we can celebrate once we've got a hold of things," Amigos said in a Facebook post.
Also, WestJet Airlines has announced the suspension of all international flights including to the U.S. for the next 30 days to help control the spread of COVID-19.