PRINCE ALBERT -- Six new positive cases of COVID-19 in the Prince Albert area has prompted the Saskatchewan Health Authority to keep pandemic visitor restrictions in place at Victoria Hospital and three long term care homes - Herb Bassett Home, Mont St Joseph Home and Pineview Terrace.

Family members and support people will only be allowed to visit for compassionate reasons, and no other visitors will be allowed inside the buildings.

Medical officials from the SHA are conducting contact tracing and investigations into the two new cases reported July 7th in the Prince Albert area. Four other positive cases in Prince Albert announced a few days prior are considered unrelated to each other.

Dr. Kahani  Chokani, the Chief Medical Health Officer for the Prince Albert Region, urges anyone with symptoms to get tested and seek medical attention to interrupt possible community transmissions.

“As we are working with those contacts, some may move from just being contacts and become symptomatic,” Dr. Chokani explained. “That develops another cascade for us because they move from being a contact into a case, and then we have to identify the contacts that they have had.”

In Saskatchewan, the age 20-39 age group has accounted for the most cases. 117 cases involve people 19 years of age and under.

-284 cases in the 20-39 age range

-253 in the 40-59 age range

-133 in the 60-79 age range

-21 in the 80-plus range.

-51 per cent of cases are females, 49 per cent are males

-15 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported to date

“We’re starting to see this affect those in the younger age group. It’s important to see you, to get tested, even though initially symptoms may seem mild,” Dr. Chokani said. “The progression to it being more serious can be rapid.”

Dr. Chokani says people should continue to practice pandemic health and safety measures in the same way they were prior to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

“If you venture out of your virtual family buddle, remember the directives that were provided. Remember the physical spacing, the good hand hygiene, cover your cough. That applies everywhere. And if you are living with someone who is in an immune-compromised situation and you have developed a cough, practice physical spacing.”

Dr. Chonaki says that applies for patients at Victoria Hospital suffering from COVID-19. Three of the positive patients at the hospital have been transferred to larger facilities to receive advanced medical treatment. He says he’s hopeful they will make a full recovery.