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Increased COVID-19 variant risk in Saskatchewan areas due to gatherings: SHA

There is an increased risk of COVID-19 variants in multiple communities of the province, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

The public alert that went out on Wednesday mentioned Rosetown (central west zone), Kindersley (central west zone), Maple Creek (south west zone), Swift Current (south west zone), Davidson (central west zone) and Moose Jaw (south central zone) as well as surrounding areas.

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SHA said the increase is related to a number of recent “large” outdoor gatherings and failure to comply with current public health measures.

“COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) are highly contagious, transmitting quickly within the community and can result in more severe disease and should be considered dangerous,” read a SHA statement.

“The increased spread of COVID-19 and its variants could result in more illness, hospitalizations and deaths, with many of those falling ill younger than previously seen during the pandemic … Residents of these areas are strongly urged to strictly adhere to all current public health order and measures.”

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According to the Saskatchewan government, a total of 3,901 VOC cases have been identified in the entire province to date.

Active COVID-19 cases were reported in the central west (29), south west (64), south central (159) zones, as of Wednesday. Residence was pending on 32 cases in the province.

Click to play video: Saskatchewan clamps down on household bubble sizes

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage, visit the Global News coronavirus web page.

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