Saskatchewan to enact more aggressive measures as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations surge

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to break record after record in Saskatchewan, the province is expected to enact more aggressive measures to control the spread of the virus.

The province is expanding its mask mandate, reducing in-class learning for some high schools, and alcohol sales will be cut off by 10 p.m.

Starting Monday, Nov. 26, 59 more communities will be under a mandatory masking order.

Read more: Coronavirus taking its toll on Saskatchewan’s health care system, workers

Anyone who lives in a community of 5,000 people or more will have to wear a mask in indoor public places. The order is in effect for 28 days.

A curfew is also being placed on alcohol sales starting this Monday.

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All restaurants, bars, taverns and nightclubs in the province will have to stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m., and consumption must end by 11 p.m., says the Ministry of Health. There are exceptions for private events and outdoor spaces.

As for schools, all school divisions are asked to move to Level 3 in their back-to-school plans for high schools with 600 students or more.

Under the Safe Schools Plan, Level 3 is to reduce in-class learning to prevent the spread of the virus.

Word of new measures came after 402 Saskatchewan physicians sent a letter to Premier Scott Moe and Shahab, calling for more action to combat the coronavirus in the province.

For seven of the past eight days, new COVID-19 case numbers have exceeded 100 per day. Since Saturday, provincial officials have identified outbreaks at two long-term care facilities, one seniors’ residence and one personal care home.

As hospital facilities and health-care personnel become stretched, the Saskatchewan Health Authority announced Thursday evening that it is “mobilizing all available resources to combat COVID-19.”

Read more: Growing group of more than 350 Sask. doctors ask province to do more in COVID-19 fight as ICUs reach capacity

This includes redeploying staff because the SHA can’t meet the “unprecedented growth demand” solely through the labour market. As a result, the disruption of other health services will occur until transmission is slowed.

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This is a developing story. Check back often for updates.

—With files from Ryan Kessler. 

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan to see new COVID-19 measures amid rising case count, care home outbreaks' Saskatchewan to see new COVID-19 measures amid rising case count, care home outbreaks

Saskatchewan to see new COVID-19 measures amid rising case count, care home outbreaks

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