Saskatchewan reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Three residents who tested positive for the virus have died, one in Saskatoon in the 70 to 79 age group, and two in the 80 and over age group in the north west zone.
There have now been a total of 40 deaths in the province due to COVID-19.
Of the cases announced Thursday, 72 are from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, 68 of whom are offenders and four of whom are staff.
There are now 85 known active cases among offenders and staff at Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
The province says corrections officials are working with public health on measures to reduce the spread within the Saskatoon facility and within the correctional system. Those measures will include ongoing testing of offenders and staff at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
All new admissions to provincial correctional centres will be tested for COVID-19 starting early next week. New admissions will continue to be quarantined for 14 days.
The province said Corrections is instituting mandatory continuous masking for offenders across all provincial correctional facilities.
Employees at correctional centres have been masked up since the summer, according to the province. But masks have not been available to all offenders.
As of Thursday, there will be no new admissions to Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
The province says remanded and sentenced offenders are being redirected to Regina and Prince Albert Correctional Centres.
The union that speaks for staff at the jail says that it wants the province to offer workers “optional accommodation” because of the high risk they now face at the facility.
“No one wants to carry this infection outside of the correctional centre,” said Glenn Billingsley, a labour relations officer with the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU).
“We want to keep it contained and manage the best we can within the facility.”
Billingsley said the COVID-19 numbers at the jail exploded over four days, with one inmate and three staff testing positive on Saturday.
“We went from zero to 100 in about four days,” he said.
All of the estimated 200 staff at the jail are now getting tested and Billingsley expects the number of known positive cases to climb by Friday.
The seven-day average of daily new cases is 243 — 20.1 new cases per population of 100,000.
Of the 7,362 total reported cases in the province, 3,146 are considered active.
Eleven of the new cases are located in the far north west, four are in the far north central, 16 are in the far north east, 17 are in the north west, 34 are in the north central, three are in the north east, 125 are in the Saskatoon area, four are in the central west, six are in the central east, 44 are in the Regina area, seven are in the south west, 12 are in the south central and eight are in the south east zone.
The locations of eight of the new cases are still pending.
One-hundred and eight people are in hospital, 90 of whom are receiving inpatient care. One person is in the far north west, eight are in the north west, eight are in the north central, one is in the north east, 34 are in Saskatoon, two are in the central east, 16 are in Regina, one is in the south west and 19 are in the south east zones.
Eighteen people are currently in intensive care, with one in the north west, one in the north central, 10 in Saskatoon, two in the south west and four in Regina.
Sports competition is suspended and gatherings at restaurants are being further limited under new COVID-19 restrictions announced by Saskatchewan on Wednesday.
Limits on private gatherings like weddings and funerals, along with places of worship, will also be introduced.
Starting 12:01 a.m. CST on Friday, no more than four people will be allowed to sit together at a table at a restaurant, and tables will need to be separated by three metres unless there are “impermeable barriers” between them, in which case they can be placed two metres apart.
Restaurants will also need to keep information about guests or patrons.
All team sports and group activities are suspended, but athletes and dancers 18 years old and under may keep practising in groups of eight or fewer if they use masks and practise physical distancing. Fitness activities in groups of eight or less are still allowed, with conditions.
All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, and no food or drink can be served. Mandatory non-medical masking is being extended to apply to all students, employees and visitors at schools.
All employees and visitors in common areas in businesses and workplaces, even where the public does not have access, also have to wear a mask.
All residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities will also have to wear a mask.
Capacity will be restricted to 30 people at casinos, bingo halls, arenas, live theatres, movie theatres, performing arts venues and other facilities that currently have a capacity of 150 people.
Indoor gatherings such as banquets, weddings, funerals, conferences will also have a limit of 30 people, and food and beverage service will be prohibited.
The limit for private indoor gatherings will remain at five but the province said “gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time.”
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