The provincial government says Saskatchewan continues to have a number of COVID-19 cases linked to interprovincial travel, including flights and by road.
Saskatchewan currently has 29 active coronavirus cases. Of the total 1,624 cases in the province, 240 cases are travellers, according to the government’s press release on Wednesday.
Premier Scott Moe said Wednesday that Alberta and Manitoba are experiencing increased COVID-19 transmission at this time and for people in Saskatchewan to think twice about unnecessary interprovincial travel.
“Right now, our neighbours to the east and west, they’re seeing some rise in case numbers and I expect them to get that under control soon but for now … if you don’t have to travel to another province, please don’t,” Moe said.
“Right now, our community spread is very low. Let’s do everything that we can to keep it that way … this includes being in particularly and especially careful if you travel outside of the province.
“This virus does not move by itself, people move it from one place to another. So let’s all try to avoid bringing it into Saskatchewan from various locations outside of our province. It’s how we’ll keep ourselves, how we’ll keep our families and our communities as well as our schools safer.”
Government officials said essential travel between provinces will continue to be permitted and includes travel for agricultural production, industry, transport and medical appointments.
“Our economies are very, very integrated. In fact, we have cities that are very, very integrated and share the border between, in this case, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We have people that are travelling back and forth between Saskatchewan and Alberta, daily for work. Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well,” Moe said.
“But what we are recommending today is if you absolutely do not have to travel, you should rethink that … we recommend that you do stay at home. And if you are, if it is necessary that you travel, we are asking you to just pay very close attention to your contact circle. Pay close attention to the public health recommendations that are in place.”
If people choose to travel, government officials advise carefully monitoring for any COVID-19 symptoms and consider seeking testing upon return to Saskatchewan.
“If you do have to leave, and here’s the question is, ‘if you do leave the province of Saskatchewan, are you automatically going to get COVID?’ Well, of course not. ‘Will it increase your chances of getting COVID, given the current environment that we’re in?’ It may,” Moe said.
“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. We have had multiple outbreaks in this province. We’ve seen outbreaks in other provinces as well. And this is going to go on for a number of months. I do not like using the term the ‘new normal’ but things have changed. Most certainly things have changed here.
“The goal is not to put teeth to the ask. The goal is to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. And to date, this recommendation comes from our chief medical health officer. But to date, the people in this province have followed the recommendations very, very well.”
Throughout our response to COVID, the provincial government has not put isolation restrictions in place on interprovincial travel, Moe said.
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.
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