Pelican Narrows outbreak expands, Sask. health measures on capacity, gatherings in effect

The COVID-19 outbreak in Pelican Narrows continues on, with 42 active cases of the disease within the community as of Thursday.

The community's health facility, the Angelique Canada Health Centre, reported that three more cases were found as of Thursday night, bringing the community up to 42 active cases. One person has had COVID-19 during the outbreak and recovered.

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Health workers in Pelican Narrows are using a mix of rapid Gene-X tests and more detailed test results that need to be sent away for processing. Those workers performed 71 swabs in the community Thursday and completed another 28 rapid tests. The centre's results are updated each evening at 6 p.m.

The most up-to-date information for the far north east 2 zone - the Saskatchewan health zone that contains Pelican Narrows, Creighton, Denare Beach, Sandy Bay and other communities in the area - showed 46 active cases in the zone, including three new cases Friday. According to the provincial government, 8,774 people live in the region.

Throughout Saskatchewan, 329 more people tested positive for COVID-19 Nov. 27, with the province reporting the deaths of four COVID-19 positive people - one person each from the north central, south east, south central and Regina zones, each over the age of 70. The province has reported 3,263 active cases, with 111 people in hospital and 16 Saskatchewan residents with COVID-19 in intensive care.

New Saskatchewan public health measures went into effect Nov. 27, including further restrictions on day-to-day activities in an attempt to stop COVID-19 spread. The new orders, announced by the province Nov. 25, went into effect Friday morning and will be in place until at least Dec. 17.

Restaurants and any licensed establishments have been limited to four people per table and must either have barriers between tables or three metres of distance between tables. All these facilities have to keep contact information for all guests and reservations to aid in possible contact tracing. A previous health order restricting liquor sales will stay in effect - last call for alcohol will be at 10 p.m., with all paying customers out by 11 p.m.

Indoor public gatherings at places like banquets, conferences, weddings and funerals will be restricted to 30 people, with no food or beverages allowed to be served. Gatherings at private homes or similar settings have been capped at five - families of five or more will not be allowed further visitors.

"Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time," reads the Nov. 25 announcement.

Team sports and activities have been suspended until Dec. 17, but athletes under age 18 will be able to continue training in groups of eight or fewer as long as they wear masks and keep their distance. Coaches or trainers are not included in those groups. This will mean the temporary cancellation of sports activities province-wide, including the 11 Saskatchewan-based teams in the SJHL. The Bombers, who are affected by previous health orders in Manitoba, suspended play earlier this week before the rest of the league after failing to receive permission to continue play from Manitoba and Saskatchewan health authorities.

Churches and worship areas are restricted to 30 people maximum, while mask use will be mandatory for all indoor fitness activies, all students and staff in day care facilities, all employees and visitors to businesses and all people in common areas in prisons. Saskatchewan instituted a mask mandate earlier in November - masks are reuired in all indoor public spaces province-wide, including areas that installed barriers and where social distancing is being followed.

Retail locations are required to cap attendance at 50 per cent capacity or at four square metres of space per person, whichever is smaller. 

Casinos, bingo halls, arenas, theatres and arts venues can remain open, but only for 30 people or less. Any food or beverages served in these areas can only be served separately from the rest of activities at the site.

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